I do not recall when I first stumbled across this Rilke poem… but it has become a frequent guest of my morning meditations as I read it, prayer like, to help me begin my day…
I hope this poem finds a spot in your day to lift you as you remind yourself “I am!”
Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower
by Rainer Maria Rilke
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.
Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower by Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29. Translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows.
Please stop and see what Kym and Bonny are sharing today!
See you all back here on Monday, have a great weekend everyone!
It is my favorite day… in my favorite month. The idea that you can carry poems with you… what a delightful thing! Today we are all sharing some poems for your pockets…
Today, I am sharing one for all of us for whom sleep is, at times, elusive. Apparently, dear Billy Collins is also similarly afflicted and he has some
wisdom wit for us. I have memorized this bit of wit and contemplate it all too frequently… but at least I know I am in good company!
by Billy Collins
Only my hand
but it’s a start.
3:00 AM from Musical Tables © Billy Collins, Random House New York, 2022.
If you want to know more about the delightful Billy Collins, you will find find information here, and here at his website.
Please make sure you stop and see what Kym, Bonny, and Sarah have for your pockets today!
Thank you so much for reading along with us this month!
This week is all about love… a difficult subject for me. I am not a flowery, all sorts of love words kind of person.
But I began the great Love Poem search both online and scouring my poetry books for something… loving.
And after all that searching I still came back to two love poems that have a bit of a different focus. The first, Love After Love by Derek Walcott (a poem that Kym shared years ago) and a new-ish poem by Maggie Smith that I discovered after I purchased her book of poems, Goldenrod. It is this poem that I am sharing today… I have printed this poem out and it has joined Love After Love on board by my desk… daily reminders for me. I hope that Maggie’s poem speaks to you as well…
by Maggie Smith
How long have I been wed
to myself? Calling myself
darling, dressing for my own
pleasure, each morning
choosing perfume to turn
me on. How long have I been
alone in this house but not
alone? Married less
to the man that to the woman
silvering with the mirror.
I know the kind of wife
I need and I become her:
the one who will leave
this earth at the same instant
I do. I am my own bride,
lifting the veil to see
my face. Darling, I say,
I have waited for you all my life.
Bride from Goldenrod: Poems © Maggie Smith, 2021. One Signal Publishers / Atria Books, Simon and Schuster, Inc.
You can hear Maggie read the poem here and you can learn more about Maggie here.
Make sure you check out what Kym, Bonny, and Sarah have shared today!
Happy Third Thursday….aka Gathering of Poetry Day!
In my search for a poem to share with you all, I read a lot of poetry. But one poem has stuck with me and I have thought about it every single day since I read it. It is a poem by Mary Oliver, who seems to have a poem for every occasion. I think Invitation is the perfect spring poem.
by Mary Oliver
Oh do you have time
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.
Mary Oliver, “Invitation,” A Thousand Mornings: Poems from New York: Penguin Books, 2013.
While I don’t have the Goldfinches Mary describes, I do have some very loud Song Sparrow’s, who absolutely encourage me to linger on my morning walks with Sherman in the very best way with their raucous singing! I hope this poem provides you some encouragement to linger over something ridiculously delightful in your day!
Need more poetry today? Be sure to stop and see what Bonny and Kym have gathered today!
Photo by Andrew Patrick
I read the poem I am sharing today earlier in the month and I did not know then how much these words would help me as the month progressed. I have memorized these words – it was simple to do so – and they have become my litany of hope as February has had some daunting challenges.
Langston Hughes wrote this poem, part of the Shadow of the Blues, in 1987. John Musto set the four poems to music, which you can listen to here (Island begins at 5:03). I did not need the music to find the balm of hope in Hughes words though… and I hope that you do as well.
by Langston Hughes
Wave of sorrow,
Do not drown me now:
I see the island
Still ahead somehow.
I see the island
And its sands are fair:
Wave of sorrow,
Take me there.
From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.
If you want to read more poetry, Bonny is gathering us all together today! If you’d like to join me with Bonny and Kym and share a poem…we’d love to have you!
See you all back here tomorrow.