Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Prayer from Rilke's Love Poems to God

Perhaps to each thirsty reader within each different setting, this petition may become particular and new?

I am praying, Awesome One.

You hear me again, as words
from the depths of me
rush toward you in the wind.

I’ve been scattered in pieces,
torn by conflict,
mocked by laughter,
washed down in drink.

In alleyways I sweep myself up
out of garbage and broken glass.
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 into 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.

It’s here in all the pieces of my shame
that now I find myself again.
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.

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rilke’s Book of Hours – Love Poems to God

In a later letter Rilke writes as follows: "...There is only-- love. The way our heart is coerced to consider one or another thing to be true, which is usually called belief, does not make sense. First one must find God somewhere and experience him as so infinite, so abundant, so tremendously present, then it may be fear, it may be astonishment, it may be breathlessness, it may in the end be --Love..."

Winter Tree found here


Connie L. Nash said...

With gratitude to the dear friend who recently read this poem to me.

Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

Extremely thoughtful and the thoughts are beautifully interposed in a prayer that starts in a self centered way but that arrow of self when leaves the drawn bow it becomes a collective prayer, wish and desire of all humanity and the target is single, the center of all things, LOVE which we also call GOD.

Connie L. Nash said...

Dear Friend, Dar Sahib, you summarized this post and poem with the same comprehensive understanding as I intended.

Thinking said...

hmmm...so lovely and so pure..like God...like love...

Dear Connie...I like the poem so much...thanks for sharing.

Connie L. Nash said...

Dear Thinking, thanx so much for your comment. How glad I am to see you again.

So late staying in touch yet have had you in my heart and prayers. hope you are well.

spike mason said...

Just thought I'd comment on your post - as I thought you might be interested that I've released an album called "Widening Circles". I have become totally smitten by Rilke and so the album features the english translation of a handful of the poems (including I am Praying again) from the Book of Hours set to my compositions.
You can watch a short film of the recording process
here ==> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIkfYDRLuls
You can have a listen to the album to see if you like it
here ==> http://www.thepoatinatree.com.au