step out of the room where everything is known.

Hello again, readers. Apologies for the blogging hibernation. Let’s jump right into some verse, shall we?  

“Entering” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Whoever you may be: step into the evening.
Step out of the room where everything is known.
Whoever you are,
your house is the last before the far-off.
With your eyes, which are almost too tired
to free themselves from the familiar,
you slowly take one black tree
and set it against the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made a world.
It is big
and like a word, still ripening in silence.
And though your mind would fabricate its meaning,
your eyes tenderly let go of what they see.

translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows


Let this darkness be a bell tower

“Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower”

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

–Rainer Marie Rilke

from Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29

translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

I want to love the things as no one has thought to love them

I could post a piece by the incredible Austrian-German poet Ranier Marie Rilke (1875-1926) every day of this month…this year, really…but today, this one feels right.

picture of Rainer Maria Rilke

“Dear Darkening Ground”

Dear darkening ground,
you’ve endured so patiently the walls we’ve built,
perhaps you’ll give the cities one more hour

and grant the churches and cloisters two.
And those that labor—let their work
grip them another five hours, or seven,

before you become forest again, and water, and widening wilderness
in that hour of inconceivable terror
when you take back your name
from all things.

Just give me a little more time!
I want to love the things
as no one has thought to love them,
until they’re worthy of you and real.

translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows