Rainer Maria Rilke
Onto a Vast Plain
You are not surprised at the force of the storm—you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. Their flight
sets the boulevards streaming. And you know:
the One whom they flee is the one
you move toward. All your senses
sing Her, as you stand at the window.
The weeks stood still in summer.
The trees' blood rose. Now you feel
it wants to sink back
into the source of everything.
you could trust that power
when you plucked the fruit:
now it becomes a riddle again
and you again a stranger.
Summer was like your house: you know
where each thing stood.
Now you must go out into your heart
as onto a vast plain. Now
the immense loneliness begins.
The days go numb, the wind
sucks the world from your senses like withered leaves.
Through the empty branches though the sky remains.
It is what you have.
Be earth now, and evensong.
Be the ground lying under that sky.
Be modest now, like a thing
ripened until it is real,
so that the One who began it all
can feel you when She reaches for you.
Dear Darkening Ground
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 real and worthy of You.
Book of Hours, I 61