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The Book of Pilgrimage, II, 22 -- Rainer Maria Rilke

Guest poem submitted by Swarna Sharma:
(Poem #902) The Book of Pilgrimage, II, 22
 You are the future,
 the red sky before sunrise
 over the fields of time.

 You are the cock's crow when night is done,
 You are the dew and the bells of matins,
 maiden, stranger, mother, death.

 You create yourself in ever-changing shapes
 that rise from the stuff of our days --
 unsung, unmourned, undescribed,
 like a forest we never knew.

 You are the deep innerness of all things,
 the last word that can never be spoken.
 To each of us you reveal yourself differently:
 to the ship as coastline, to the shore as a ship.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated from the German by Anita Barrows.

This poem is from 'The Book of Pilgrimage', the middle section of the Book
of Hours, the first being 'The Book of a Monastic Life' and the third being
'The Book of Poverty and Death'. The resonance and lucid imagery of the
German original has not been lost in this English translation by Anita
Barrows. The subtitle to the Book of Hours is : Love poems to God. This
particular poem also reflects the intimate conversation that Rilke has with
the universal consciousness and the longing he has for an unmediated
conversation with the heart of the Universe. The images of God are drawn
from nature but the questing spirit of Rilke rests in the recognition of the
immanence of divine effusion, that includes all polarities and dualities and
at the same time transcends them. One can readily witness the concept of
inter-being, the sacred interrelatedness of all creation that is so central
to Buddhism. When Rilke uses images to describe the imageless, he writes as
a mystic who celebrates "the deep innerness of all things". In this Rilke
belongs in the same league as Whitman and Hopkins.


[Minstrels Links]

Rainer Maria Rilke:
Poem #136, The Panther
Poem #861, Spanish Dancer

Walt Whitman:
Poem #54, When I heard the Learn'd Astronomer
Poem #157, O Captain! My Captain!
Poem #246, I Hear America Singing
Poem #268, The Dalliance of the Eagles
Poem #445, A Noiseless Patient Spider
Poem #498, The World Below the Brine
Poem #508, I saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing
Poem #887, Beat! Beat! Drums!

Gerard Manley Hopkins:
Poem #3, Inversnaid
Poem #35, The Windhover
Poem #59, To a Young Child
Poem #134, Pied Beauty
Poem #260, Moonrise
Poem #606, God's Grandeur
Poem #870, No worst, there is none

29 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Sreejesh S.A said...

This poem reminded me of recursive functions.
Though the beauty flows beyong that...
My CPU usage rose to 100% ... and seeing that it was a case unsolved due to infinite calls of the same thing looking different ...made a template of it to store away since other functions where calling.
This poem also reminds me of love and relationships.

With regards and respect and a white rose...
Your's sincerely
Sreejesh S Appathinkattil

spike mason said...

Just thought I'd comment on your post - as I thought you might be interested that I've released an album called "Widening Circles". I have become totally smitten by Rilke and so the album features an english translation of a handful of the poems (including You are the future) from the Book of Hours set to my compositions.
You can watch a short film of the recording process
here ==>
You can have a listen to the album to see if you like it
here ==>

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