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beyond words, and yet …

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Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) is known as a poet and mystic. One hundred and ten years ago, while in his twenties, he returned from a visit to Russia stirred by the simple spirituality he’d encountered there. In a collection of psalm-like poems, he speaks of the reciprocal relationship between the divine and the ordinary; both needing juan%20de%20fucaeach other for their existence.

According to the translators, the word “laws” in the last stanza comes from the German “Wege,” which could also be translated as “paths” or “ways,” thus hinting at the Buddhist word “dharma.”

All who seek you 
test you.
And those who find you
bind you to image and gesture.

I would rather sense you
as the earth senses you.
In my ripening
ripens
what you are.

I need from you no tricks
to prove you exist.
Time, I know,
is other than you.

No miracles, please.
Just let your laws
become clearer
from generation to generation.

source: Barrows, A. & Macy, J. (1996) (Trans.). Rilke’s book of hours: love poems to God. New York: Riverhead Books, p. 115. image: “[Strait of] Juan de Fuca” by Galiano/Victoria artist A.J. Bell.

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