Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ready for the Shift

Surely Rilke would have been quick to observe that
Daylight Savings Time doesn't really save us anything.
It merely shifts an hour of light from morning to evening,
or an hour of darkness from evening to morning --
whichever way you want to look at it.

Prayer #1

The hour bows down and stirs me
with a clear and ringing stroke;
my senses tremble. I feel that I can —
and I seize the forming day.

Nothing was yet done before I beheld it,
and every becoming stood still;
my ways of seeing are ripe, and, like a bride,
to each one comes the thing each wills.

Nothing is too small for me, and I love it anyway
and paint it on the golden base and large —
and hold it high; and I don’t know whose
soul this might yet free . . .

On the 20th of September in the evening after a lengthy rainstorm,
when the sun suddenly broke through the forest’s dark canopy and through me.

Prayer #20

My life is not this steep hour
in which You see me hurrying so.
I am a tree standing before what I once was;
I am only one of my many mouths,
and, at that, the first to close.

I am the stillness between two notes
that don't easily harmonize,
because the note Death wants to lift itself up . . .

But in the dark interval both notes come
trembling, to join as one . . .
and the song remains, beautiful.

After this, the monk drew very near to God; on the same evening.

[Concluding notes from Rilke;
italics and ellipses in original text]
Both selections from Prayers of a Young Poet
written by by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 - 1926)
translated by Mark S. Burrows

Many thanks to my dear friend and spiritual advisor
Nancy C. Tiederman
for sending me this latest translation of Rilke's Prayers

No comments:

Post a Comment