(My Birthday Last Year)
I dedicate this post to the memory of my friend Dagmar Murray, who was born on April 13th, 1959.
Another friend ~ www.jandonley.com ~ also born in April and often mentioned on my blogs, sent a link to the following poem the other day on facebook. Jan wasn't sending the poem, which she describes as "short and so, so beautiful," just to me. Nor did she send it in connection with Dagmar, who died last month, sadly and suddenly. However, as so often happens, Jan's message seemed to come at precisely the right time, thus I share Rilke's poem here today in honor of Dagmar's 52nd birthday:
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.
by Rainer Maria Rilke
from his Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29
translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows
recited on public radio by Joanna Macy
On The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker