If you have been following my writing over the years, you know that I am a fan of Rainer Maria Rilke. His birthday was yesterday. I am thinking of him today.
This is from Love Poems to God, as translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows.
You see, I want a lot.
Maybe I want it all:
the darkness of each endless fall,
the shimmering light of each ascent.
So many are alive who don’t seem to care.
Casual, easy, they move in the world
as though untouched.
But you take pleasure in the faces
of those who know they thirst.
You cherish those
who grip you for survival.
You are not dead yet, it’s not too late
to open your depths by plunging into them
and drink the in the life
that reveals itself quietly there.
When I read this poem, who the “you” is, changes for me. The first you is like a salutation, a general non-directive you. The second “you” in the third stanza is directed at someone else, likely God. Then that last “you” in the final stanza, the other/God figure from stanza three speaks, guides, and challenges the “I” from the first stanza to go inside the self and open to the richness of life, to embrace and hold the depths of the soul down to the skeletal structure of being.
Is this what Rilke intended? Maybe. I just know what I am reading on the page, what the words bring up for me. Right now I need more than ever to spend that quiet time deep in the depths of life and living, and for me, that often equals an incredible amount of time alone, in quiet–to find a place of being versus always doing.
What does his words bring up for you?