Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sometimes a poem

Sometimes a poem comes out of nowhere and speaks to me.

Last night this one from Rilke found me via a podcast I was listening to. The translation here is particularly wonderful.

Here it is, from Sonnets to Orpheus II:

"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 Maria Rilke

I like listen to podcasts at night, just as I'm falling asleep. This beautiful Rilke poem was read by the philosopher and translator Joanna Macy, as part of her interview on Krista Tippet's On Being. You can listen to her read her translation here. Or the entire podcast, here. Both are worth the time.

I hope the poem speaks to you. What else finds you when you need to hear it?

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Alexandra Hope Flood said...

That poem is stirring and gorgeous and -- oh does it speak to me! Thanks for sharing. It's a keeper.

Irene Latham said...

"be the mystery at the crossroads" THAT speaks to me. Other things that speak to me when I am the bell: nature, whatever the season, animals, fabric, and the possibilities there, art... music - try Waterfall by Mario Olivares. So good to see your post! I think of you often. xo

Angie Muresan said...

I agree with you, Kirie. Some poems are indeed powerful.
Missed you. I hope you are all well.

Laurie said...

Such a beautiful sonnet by one of my favorite poets. And Joanna Macy is a gem. I will pop right over to that podcast.
Thank you for sharing this. It reminds me of some Lao Tse and also Hopkins...
Following you now!

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