Praise the world to the angel, not the unutterable world;
you cannot astonish him with your glorious feelings;
in the universe, where he feels more sensitively,
you're just a beginner.
Therefore, show him the simple
thing that is shaped in passing from father to son,
that lives near our hands and eyes as our very own.
Tell him about the Things.
He'll stand amazed, as you stood
beside the rope-maker in Rome, or the potter on the Nile.
Show him how happy a thing can be, how blameless and ours;
how even the lamentation of sorrow purely decides
to take form, serves as a thing, or dies
in a thing, and blissfully in the beyond
escapes the violin.
And these things that live,
slipping away, understand that you praise them;
transitory themselves, they trust us for rescue,
us, the most transient of all. They wish us to transmute them
in our invisible heart--oh, infinitely into us! Whoever we are.
Earth, isn't this what you want: invisibly
to arise in us? Is it not your dream
to be some day invisible? Earth! Invisible!
What, if not transformation, is your insistent commission?
Earth, dear one, I will! Oh, believe it needs
not one more of your springtimes to win me over.
One, just one, is already too much for my blood.
From afar I'm utterly determined to be yours.
You were always right and your sacred revelation is the intimate
Behold, I'm alive. On what? Neither childhood nor future
grows less...surplus of existence
is welling up in my heart.
This poem by Rilke was one of our Christmas meditations. Found, as these things often are, by chance in Earth Prayers from Around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. A little online research -- it's the last half or so of Rainer Maria Rilke's Ninth Elegy. If you want to read the entire poem, click here.