Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rilke: Poet and Mystic

I read poetry nearly every morning as part of my spiritual practice. It is a way for me to ground into the present and connect more deeply to the Sacred through the holy words of the poet. Of course, Mary Oliver is one of my patron saints and quote her here often. Also David Whyte, John O'Donohue, and John Keats. Poets, past and present. For me, poets are mystics and this is especially true of Rainer Maria Rilke. I adore his Duino Elegies which are earthy yet transcendent. Such beauty. The last few days I've been reading his "Sonnets to Orpheus." Here is one that speaks to me and the lightness and the darkness of being.

II, 29

Silent friend of many distances, feel
how your breath enlarges all of space.
Let your presence ring out like a bell
into the night. What feeds upon your face

grows mighty from the nourishment thus offered.
Move through transformation, out and in.
What is the deepest loss that you have suffered?
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.

In this immeasurable darkness, be the power
that rounds your senses in their magic ring,
the sense of their mysterious encounter.

And if the earthly no longer knows your name,
whisper to the silent earth: I'm flowing.
to the flashing water say: I am.

Translation: Stephen Mitchell

No comments:

Post a Comment