Ninth Duino Elegy (excerpt)
Earth, isn’t this what you want? To arise in us, invisible?
Is it not your dream, to enter us so wholly
there’s nothing left outside us to see?
What, if not transformation,
is your deepest purpose? Earth, my love,
I want that too. Believe me,
no more of your springtimes are needed
to win me over – even one flower
is more than enough. Before I was named
I belonged to you. I seek no other law
but yours, and know I can trust
the death you will bring.
-Rainer Maria Rilke from In Praise of Mortality, trans. and edited Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy
“Earth, isn’t this what you want? To arise in us, invisible?”
“even one flower / is more than enough.”
I love Rilke’s words and reading this section of his poem today I am moved so deeply by each and every line. What if we held this desire close to ourselves, earth’s desire to enter into us wholly and transform us. What would that mean? Can we believe that before we were named we belonged to the soft tender body of the earth? That, like Psalm 139 tells us, God knit us in our mother’s womb out of flesh and sinew, blood and bone.
“No more of your springtimes are needed / to win me over.” This spring in some ways I am experiencing the world for the first time. I am slowing down even more and immersing myself in wonder. Like Rilke, I am discovering a world whose laws I can trust, whose rhythms I want to flow through my body, where the brilliant release into death of autumn and winter’s slumber brings the vibrancy of spring. I am hungry to release everything that keeps me from this resurrection pulsing within.
-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts