a lesson from rilke

From his last “Sonnet to Orpheus,” Rilke has chosen to be with the darkness rather than hide from it, as evidenced by his work. 

I often find poetry to be grounding in times of darkness or longing. When we read each others' words we are immediately more connected-- to another place, time, person, etc.

Yet, within the lines and rhythm, we can also find ourselves.

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.

Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29