Gravity’s Law

How surely gravity’s law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of the smallest thing

and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing—
each stone, blossom, child—
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to

for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence

we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making

and struggle, lonely and confused.

So like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God’s heart;

they have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that

before he can fly.

~~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~~
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A Walk

My eyes already touch the sunny hill,
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and changes us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave…
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

~~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~~

I Love the Dark Hours of My Being

I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.

Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that’s wide and timeless.

So I am sometimes like a tree
rustling over a gravesite
and making real the dream
of the one its living roots
embrace:

a dream once lost
among sorrows and songs.

~~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~~ 

 

I Am Too Alone In The World, Yet Not Alone

I am too alone in the world, and yet not alone enough
to make every moment holy.
I am too tiny in this world, and yet not tiny enough
just to lie before you like a thing,
shrewd and secretive.
I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will,
as it goes toward action;
and in those quiet, sometimes hardly moving times
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know secret things
or else alone.
I want to be a mirror for your whole body,
and I never want to be blind, or to be too old
to hold up your heavy and swaying picture.
I want to unfold.
I don’t want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
And I want my grasp of things to be
true before you. I want to describe myself
like a painting that I looked at
closely for a long time,
like a saying that I finally understood,
like the pitcher I use every day,
like the face of my mother,
like a ship
that carried me
through the wildest storm of all.
 
~~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~~

Into the Open Sea

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has
dared to wish for may for once spring
clear without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a
river, no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out,
returning, I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

~~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~~

You See I Want A Lot

You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.
 
So many live on and want nothing,
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments.
 
But what you love to see are faces
that do work and feel thirst.
 
You love most of all those who need you
as they need a crowbar or a hoe.
 
You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.
 
~~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~~

Love Song

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn’t touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn’t resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin’s bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.
 
~~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~~