Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rilke and Joanna Macy's Wild Love for the World

(photo: “Holland Lake” by Trent Gilliss)

"Go to the Limits of Your Longing"
by Rainer Maria Rilke; translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

Book of Hours, I 59

( to hear Macy read this poem go here )

"Dear Darkening Ground"
by Rainer Maria Rilke; translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

"Dear Darkening Ground" by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Dear darkening ground,
you've endured so patiently the walls we've built,
perhaps you'll give the cities one more hour

and grant the churches and cloisters two.
And those that labor—let their work
grip them another five hours, or seven,

before you become forest again, and water, and widening wilderness
in that hour of inconceivable terror
when you take back your name
from all things.

Just give me a little more time!
I want to love the things
as no one has thought to love them,
until they're worthy of you and real.

Book of Hours, I 61

(to hear Macy read this poem go here )

I found this image here

Other select excerpts:

First lines Macy saw from Rilke which caught her attention: "I lived my life in widening circles...I've been circling around God (for ages) and still I don't know whether I'm a falcon or a great stone." and later " not impermanance the very fragrance of our days?"

Macy: "Before Buddhism was sweeping the West, I fell in love with the Tibetans - the way they loved life and their traditions.

'Rilke and Buddhist teachings use image after image from the natural world.

'Russian spirituality (is also) close to the earth..."

Macy also weaves into the interview with Krista Tippet and others how some Christian traditions - particularly from St. Francis and some hymns also stimulated her deep love for nature and the sacredness of the earth and world.

"We must stop treating the earth as a supply house and (the) world itself is sacred."

Macy on grief: "Fear of pain leads to mor pain."

"The Dance with Despair is pivotal in my life. When we (wait) with our fearfulness - our pain - it doesn't stay static - it turns into absolute inseparableness with all of life. (Macy gives metaphors here from her own life - and if/when we love either a sick mother or a sick world - we want to be with her...)

To see Krista Tippet's On Being interview with Joanna Macy and related items click here and here


See another site for Rilke here

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