With my half-mouth I stammer you, who are eternal in your symmetry. I lift to you my half-hands in wordless beseeching, that I may find again the eyes with which I once beheld you. I am a house gutted by fire where only the guilty sometimes sleep before the punishment that devours them hounds them out in the open. I am a city by the sea sinking into a toxic tide. I am strange to myself, as though someone unknown had poisoned my mother as she carried me. I yearn to belong to something, to be contained in an all-embracing mind that sees me as a single thing.
I yearn to be held in the great hands of your heart— oh let them take me now. Into them I place these fragments, my life, and you, God—spend them however you want. View all 4 comments. Jun 04, Jennifer Locke rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry. Read this book several years ago and decided that I had to own it, mainly for this poem: I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one but I give myself to it. I circle around God, around the primordial tower. I've been circling for thousands of years and I still don't know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song? View 1 comment. Jul 19, Steven Godin rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry , austria , germany.
Beautiful, spiritual, insightful poetry. I appreciate all aspects of his work, this one in particular though is one to be treasured. It's like binding words into serene works of art. Essential reading for those who seek a deeper understanding of Rilke's journey, as both man and poet. I picked out the poem below, which I feel sums up Rilke's mind during this book. What will you do, God, when I die? When I, your pitcher, broken, lie? When I, your drink, go stale or dry? I am your garb, the trade you p Beautiful, spiritual, insightful poetry.
I am your garb, the trade you ply, you lose your meaning, losing me. Homeless without me, you will be robbed of your welcome, warm and sweet. I am your sandals: your tired feet will wander bare for want of me. Your mighty cloak will fall away. Your glance that on my cheek was laid and pillowed warm, will seek, dismayed, the comforts that I offered once — to lie, as sunset colors fade in the cold lap of alien stones.
What will you do, God? I am afraid. I read a checked-out library copy of this book, but about halfway through I realized that I was going to need to own it. Still working on that. But thanks to Rilke, I finally understand the point of poetry. Don't get me wrong - I've appreciated poetry before, like the imagery it evoked or the cadence it gave or whatever. But THIS. Well, just refer to the first two words of the review. I found this stuff profound. In almost every poem I found a stanza or thought that would just stop me Whoa.
In almost every poem I found a stanza or thought that would just stop me in my tracks with an "aha!
- 58 Absolutely Beautiful Love Poems You Should Read Right Now 😘 💝;
- Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God by Rainer Maria Rilke.
- Hal Spacejock (édition française) (French Edition).
I think this is also the first time I've come upon subject matter that couldn't be adequately expressed except through poetry. Most love poems I've read I find to be rather trite, but these are anything but. The depth of feeling they express is simply incredible. My first exposure to Rilke's poetry came from a church talk I heard a few years ago. The poem was titled "God Speaks to Each of Us," and after hearing it I thought about it for months afterward. It was this poem that led me to the Book of Hours.
It also impressed upon me the difficultly of translating poems. The fact that all of Rilke's poems were originally written German meant there were many variations in English of a single poem in the German. Their translation was the best that I found and seems to have been done with an immense amount of thought and care. Two final thoughts. First, I loved how universally applicable these poems are.
They are appropriate readers of any or no faith, a point that Macy and Barrows emphasize in their commentary. Second, I loved Rilke's focus on the idea of ripening. I've never thought of ripening in terms of anything other than fruit, but I think Rilke sees it as one of our reasons for being on earth. I like this idea. I want to ripen. Sep 06, Zinta rated it it was amazing. The task of a translator, I think, has always been unappreciated.
10. “Since There’s No Help,” by Michael Drayton (1563-1631)
It is a demanding one, a task that can never be done to the perfection it begs. Language is a living, breathing thing, and it holds within it an entire culture, and in that culture, an entire people, and within these people, an entire world. It is not possible to withdraw one such world and make it fit into the shape of another. Yet if we are to even try to understand one another, the many of us on this earth and our ways, then tr The task of a translator, I think, has always been unappreciated.
Yet if we are to even try to understand one another, the many of us on this earth and our ways, then translating the great works of any culture is a much needed task that some very brave soul must undertake. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy are such brave souls, and the two friends are bonded by their deep love for the work of German poet but born in Prague , Rainer Maria Rilke.
While I know a very little of German, I cannot by any measure judge their success in translation. I have read Rilke in two languages, German being neither of them, and only from that experience can I say, cautiously, that I believe them to be as successful as any translators may hope to be. And it may be enough that a translator love a work so deeply and with such devotion that this in itself carries through the spirit of what is intended.
How can one not fall in love with Rilke? The poet transcends time, expressing what humankind has tried to express, surely, since self-awareness first blushed at its own face. As love letters do, his poems speak of longing, of devotion, of the desire to serve and please, of the fears of separation, of the joy of reunion.
He wishes to present himself to God as he is, with open heart, in praise, one lonely being, perhaps, to another lonely being, both craving to love and be loved. You, God, who live next door— If at times, through the long night, I trouble you with my urgent knocking— this is why: I hear you breathe so seldom. I wait listening, always. Just give me a sigh! As it happens, the wall between us is very thin. It would crumble easily, it would barely make a sound. For Rilke, God is most intimate, most personal.
He speaks to Him as if they stand side by side, and indeed they do. The need for company is mutual. As Rilke was in his first years raised, oddly enough, as a daughter—his mother had longed for one, and in something weirdly like denial, dressed her long-locked boy as a girl in dresses and called him Rene—so in later years, his father sent him to military school, to toughen him up and teach him a very male discipline.
Rilke would find his own good mix. He fit neither of their plans, nor the conventional of a working society. Poetry was his love for as long as memory, and in whatever context his life, it was the one steady rock. He could and would not do any other work, forever seeking sponsors and mentors so that he may devote himself fully to his art.
When he fell in love for the first time, the woman he loved urged him to use the more masculine version of his name, Rainer. And so ever after, he did. But all of this seems like sideline matters, mere tangents, including the love itself, as he had numerous relationships, holding none steady, including a marriage that produced a child. Nothing else came first. Only the word in verse.
They were a match, if not in medium, then in devotion. With a singular vision, an undistracted dedication. If Rodin created in stone, Rilke created in language, and so he sculpted verse, and in verse, his ongoing and lifelong prayer: Only in our doing can we grasp you. Only with our hands can we illumine you. The mind is but a visitor: it thinks us out of our world. Each mind fabricates itself. We sense its limits, for we have made them. And just when we would flee them, you come and make of yourself an offering. Speak to me from everywhere. Your Gospel can be comprehended without looking for its source.
When I go toward you it is with my whole life. No doubt, God was listening and listens still. Through his, the rest of us feel that much closer to the divine, as well. First read There is very little pre-modern poetry that I am able to read myself, though I can often appreciate it being recited and I am not sure whether it's Rilke's genius or Babette Deutsch's musical, mainly free verse translation that makes these poems so beautiful, so perfectly clear and direct, like a mountain spring rolling over your toes, like a smooth cool pebble dropped into your hand.
As an atheist I have to interrogate myself and work hard for a meaningful interpretation when I First read There is very little pre-modern poetry that I am able to read myself, though I can often appreciate it being recited and I am not sure whether it's Rilke's genius or Babette Deutsch's musical, mainly free verse translation that makes these poems so beautiful, so perfectly clear and direct, like a mountain spring rolling over your toes, like a smooth cool pebble dropped into your hand.
As an atheist I have to interrogate myself and work hard for a meaningful interpretation when I read Rilke, but his god is so interesting that sometimes I'm content to smile and leave him to it. Even the unbeliever can find some stimulating conversation to have with these poems, if not comfort and sweetness. What will you do God, when I die? Your glance that on my cheek was laid and pillowed warm, will seek, dismayed, the comfort that I offered once - to lie, as sunset colours fade in the cold lap of alien stones.
In her introductions Deutsch writes beautifully about Rilke's god as created by art "The wine not yet ripened", but here the poet addresses god in intimate love as, it seems to me, both parent and child. All will grow great and powerful again: the seas be wrinkled and the land be plain, the trees gigantic and the walls be low; and in the valleys, strong and multiform, a race of herdsfolk and of farmers grow.
No churches to encircle God as though he were a fugitive, and then bewail him as if he were a captured wounded creature - all houses will prove friendly, there will be a sense of boundless sacrifice prevailing in dealings between men, in you, in me. No waiting the beyond, no peering toward it, but longing to degrade not even death; we shall learn earthliness, and serve its ends, to feel its hands about us like a friend's. Without agreeing with him, I have sympathy for Nietzsche's sneer at Christian morality. Love your neighbour and give away your wealth is simply not enough to live by, which is why the 'great' Catholic theologians like Aquinas had to shore it up with Aristotle and other philosophers of the greco-roman tradition.
Rilke takes a different approach, placing responsibility on the individual to create a world of gentleness and respect for nature through love. Well it works as poetry, it works as an appeal, it feels nice. They will say "mine" as one will sometimes call the prince his friend in speech with villagers, the prince being very great - and far away.
They call strange walls "mine," knowing not at all who is the master of the house indeed. They still say "mine", and claim possession, though each thing, as they approach, withdraws and closes; a silly charlatan perhaps thus poses as owner of the lightning and the sun. And so they say: my life, my wife, my child, my dog, well knowing all that they have styled their own: life, wife, child, dog, remain shapes foreign and unknown, that blindly groping they must stumble on.
This truth, be sure, only the great discern, who long for eyes. The others will not learn that in the beggary of their wandering they cannot claim a bond with any thing, but, driven from possessions they have prized, not by their own belongings recognized, they can OWN wives no more than they own flowers, whose life is alien and apart from ours.
This apartness of other beings, especially animals, is picked up by DH Lawrence, for example in his poem Fish. When I read Lawrence's poem in this anthology I thought I had read in Rilke a wonderful poem about animals' experience of the world in this little collection, but I was confused; the poem was in The Thunder Mutters.
It's much richer and chewier than the sweet little poems here, so I know there's a lot more Rilke for me. That's good, because his words make the world lovelier. They weigh in the balance against despair. I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world I may not complete this last one but I give myself to it I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them. There I can find, as in old letters, the days of my life, already lived, and held like a legend, and understood. All my cells are open, and all so thirsty. I ache and swell in a hundred places, but mostly in the middle of my heart I want to die. Leave me I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world I may not complete this last one but I give myself to it I love the dark hours of my being.
Leave me alone. I feel I am almost there- where the great terror can dismember me My blood is alive with many voices telling me I am made of longing. No feeling is final. Our true face never speaks. Somewhere there must be storehouses where all these lives are laid away like suits of armor or old carriages or clothes hanging limply on the walls Maybe all paths lead there, to the depository of unlived things.
The great death, that each of us carries inside, is the fruit. Everything enfolds it. View 2 comments. Jun 20, Neil R. I found this copy of the Book of Hours on a giveaway shelf several months ago, and I believe it's the best free book that has ever come to me. I would even say it's destiny that let me find this collection of amazing poems and reflections on God. I'm not much interested in poetry. I often find it either gimmicky bound by certain rules that make it seem artificial to me or impenetrable re: almost any poem that appears in the New Yorker.
But Rilke's poems knocked me off my chair again and again I found this copy of the Book of Hours on a giveaway shelf several months ago, and I believe it's the best free book that has ever come to me. But Rilke's poems knocked me off my chair again and again and I've read through this volume numerous times since first finding it. I've rarely found any writing, poetry or prose, that so perfectly captures the feelings I have as I contemplate God and my relationship to him. As someone involved in the arts, I love that Rilke has an artist's perspective.
Throughout the first of the three books in the collection, he considers the challenge of portraying God artistically but honestly. We must not portray you in king's robes, you drifting mist that brought forth the morning. Once again from the old paintboxes we take the same gold for scepter and crown that has disguised you through the ages. Piously we produce our images of you till they stand around you like a thousand walls. And when our hearts would simply open, our fervent hands hide you.
I:4, p. Near the end of Book 1, Rilke returns to that theme. I want to utter you. I want to portray you not with lapis or gold, but with colors made of apple bark. There is no image I could invent that your presence would not eclipse. I want, then, simply to say the names of things. I, p. Bright daylight, "where light thins into nothing" I, p. Having spent some time earlier this year with Shusako Endo's Silence , and Makoto Fujimura's meditation on Endo, Silence and Beauty , I appreciated the recurring theme of God's silence in Rilke's poems.
Sometimes I pray: Please don't talk. Let all your doing be by gesture only. Go on writing in faces and stone what your silence means. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and Tukaram are all "love poems by God" from writers considered "conduits of the divine. Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Other books in this series. Add to basket.
58 Beautiful Love Poems to Read Right Now
Love Poems from God Daniel Ladinsky. Yoga for Wellness Gary Kraftsow. Bioenergetics Alexander Lowen. Myths to Live by Joseph Campbell. If the Buddha Dated Charlotte Kasl. Yoga for Transformation Gary Kraftsow. The Magus of Strovolos Kyriacos C. Ritual Malidoma Patrice Some. The Life of Milarepa Lobsang P. Sorcerer'S Crossing Taisha Abelar. Thomas Aquinas Hafiz St.
- The Scarlet Button (Mr Crook Murder Mystery).
- Love Poems.
- QUESTER (Book 3 in the Brass Pendant Trilogy).
Catherine of Siena Kabir Mira St. Teresa of Avila St. Daniel Ladinsky follows the playfulness; the rascal moves well. Our world needs much, much more tickling in this present day and time.
“Love Poems from God”
And the dog being called God. I do love the songs and the great part is they remain in your song brain for quite a while. Thank you for what you do to help us. It makes my week so much better. Each one of the poem excerpts were delightful and put me into a new way of thinking about God. Thank you for sharing. Always love your insights. Dear Sister Melannie, Thank you. Let me explain. My mother never knew her father, as he died a month before she was born.
With a grateful heart, I will gladly read the poem to my mother.
Advent Blessings to you and your readers. I first heard this song 20 years ago and have heard it sung by many different aritists, and it STILL brings tears to my eyes! How meaningful is that!! My favorite song, could listen it to it over and over again, which I do frequently. Such a message and it does tickle my heart. Thank you for another super start to the week. Loved all of the poems you shared. Blessings to you this Christmas Season Sister! Thank you for the reminder of the book Love Poems from God.
Every time I pass someone on the streets, at the hospital and at a drop-in center for women I smile and greet the person. At first they are stunned like the dog when it was called God but then he was transformed. I hope my smile does the same to all the people I greet. Such treasures you have shared today. Each poem spoke to me, and often brought a big smile. Thanks S. I have enjoyed reading your column but am no longer receiving it because I have changed my email address. Please add my new email to your list of subscribers. Thanks for your insights.
Dear Sister, We loved the poems you shared with us. You made our day more special! God bless you with a Merry Christmas! Love, Irene and the Sisters from 2nd floor front Solorium.