Rilke dances into the world

Rilke dances into the world December 4, 2021






Lovely and lyrical and as sharp as a
Center of all centers, core of cores,
almond self-enclosed and growing sweet –
all this universe, to the furthest stars

and beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

Now you feel how nothing clings to you;
your vast shell reaches into endless space,
and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.
Illuminated in your infinite peace,

A billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.

But in you the presence that

will be, when all the stars are dead.


Rene Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke was born in Prague what was then the capital of Bohemia, on this day, the 4th of December, in 1875.

He is best known as Rainer Maria Rilke. For many of us his poetry opens wisdom doors…

In fact one of his poems, the Ninth Duino Elegy is chanted in some Zen centers together with more “traditional” Zen texts.

Part of some mysterious thing that is birthing into the world…

Here’s how it begins in Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows translation.

Why, if it’s possible to come into existence
as laurel, say, a little darker green
than other trees, with ripples edging each
leaf (like a wind, smiling): why then
do we have to be human, and keep running from the fate
we are made for and long for?

Or, perhaps you’d like to hear Stephen Mitchell’s version?

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