Friday, October 23, 2009

Response to Rilke

The following poem responds to Rainer Maria Rilke's poem from A Book for the Hours of Prayer titled "I have many brothers."

Response to Rilke

I, too, have brothers in the South –
they pray inside a frame, these men
from the high hills, with leather skin,
who set themselves against the world
and are a world unto themselves,

and I have brothers in the West
with stone cold churches
built for the ages to communicate
the ageless truth of their belief,
which they believe more than they know,

and I have brothers in the East
with wisdom held in books
for the common person’s good,
but the words can’t be understood
unless one can stand without words.

Yet, no matter how far I go
on my inward journey, my power
is neither light nor dark,
but clear and cold as a winter
night, as broad and deep as space,

and though my soul does drink as roots
of trees with need, it doesn’t claim much,
but joins as drops do to water -
with affinity - so I come to return
to that early hour, clear and clean as dew.

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