Rilke on Suffering

By October 11, 2017

As the world grieves, the soul takes refuge in beauty. A kind of beauty that re-makes the world. The poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke echoes through time, tenderly holding us, in our uncertainty and loss.

“Someday, emerging at last from the violent insight, let me sing out jubilation and praise to assenting angels.

Let not even one of the clearly-struck hammers of my heart fail to sound because of a slack, a doubt, or a broken string.

Let my joyfully streaming face make me more radiant; let my hidden weeping arise and blossom. How dear you will be to me then, you nights of anguish.

When didn’t I kneel more deeply to accept you, inconsolable sisters, and, surrendering, lose myself in our loosened hair. How we squander our hours of pain.

How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration to see if they have an end.

Though they are really our winter-enduring foliage, our dark evergreen, one season in our inner year-, not only a season in time-, but are place and settlement, foundation and soil and home.

Translation by Stephen Mitchell from “Duino Elegies” written by Rainer Maria Rilke.

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