Marveling he stands on the cathedral’s
steep ascent, close to the rose window,
as though frightened at the apotheosis
which grew and all at once
set him down over these and these.
And straight he stands and glad of his endurance,
simply determined; as the husbandman
who began and who knew not how
from the garden of Eden finished-full
to find a way out into
the new earth. God was hard to persuade;
and threatened him, instead of acceding,
ever and again, that he would die.
Yet man persisted: she will bring forth.
Look how she stands, high on the steep facade
of the cathedral, near the window-rose,
simply, holding in her hand the apple,
judged for all time as the guiltless-guilty
for the growing fruit her body held
which she gave birth to after parting from
the circle of eternities. She left
to face the strange New Earth, so young in years.
Oh, how she would have loved to stay a little
longer in that enchanted garden, where
the peaceful gentle beasts grazed side by side.
But Adam was resolved to leave, to go
out into this New Earth, and facing death
she followed him. God she had hardly known.
-both poems by Rainer Maria Rilke
(all photos taken at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City)
-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts
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