A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Monday, 9 June 2014

You Inherit The Green (9)

I would find it hard to imagine the world of poetry without the guiding, reflective voice of Rainer Maria Rilke — for me a cornerstone, like Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, Coleridge, Whitman, Eliot and Heaney. I turn to the entry for today's date, 9 June, in A Year with Rilke: Daily Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated and edited by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows, and find this:


You know that the flower bends when the wind wants it to, and you must become like that — that is, filled with deep trust.


The next entry, 10 June, is a poem:

You Inherit the Green

And you inherit the green
of vanished gardens
and the motionless blue of fallen skies,
dew of a thousand dawns, countless summers
the suns sang, and springtimes to break your heart
like a young woman's letters.

You inherit the autumns, folded like festive clothing
in the memories of poets; and all the winters,
like abandoned fields, bequeath you their quietness.
You inherit Venice, Kazan, and Rome;

Florence will be yours, and Pisa's cathedral,
Moscow with bells like memories,
and the Troiska convent, and the monastery
whose maze of tunnels lies swallowed under Kiev's gardens.

RAINER MARIA RILKE The Book of Hours II, 10

Let us be glad of this inheritance, these gifts of green gardens and blue skies, of morning dewfalls, of summers, springtimes and winters, of bells and beautiful cities and spiritual places, knowing at the same time they are all transitory, all destined to be dust and memories. Let us internalise and so immortalise them. Let us be grateful for Rilke, and for his poems like love letters.


George said...

And what a wonderful inheritance it is — colors, seasons, cities, and the memories of each etched upon our hearts. Also lovely is the quote on trust — having faith that that the flower of each life will bend as needed to accommodate the wind.

am said...

The pattern I'm seeing that draws me to these poets is their ability to awaken all of my senses, especially that of sight. They use words in much the way a painter paints.

With this poem, I'm moved by Rilke's vision of inheritance and gratitude.

Trust is an issue that I continue to work with. Thank you for the quote about deep trust.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, a wonderful inheritance, George...

... and Am, trust, yes, a difficult one... trust by oneself in oneself, trust by others in oneself, trust in others... very hard to regain trust after trust is broken... but one works at it. Perhaps the thing to do is to say, damn it, I'll just trust, in defiance of everything and to hell with the consequences, with the possibility of being let down again always there. To do it for one's own spiritual salvation.


The Solitary Walker said...

And thanks for writing about the pattern you detect, Am. It's enlightening that someone finds affinities between these choices — hard for the one choosing to see this (apart from the obvious and superficial birdsong connection between some of the poems. You are talking about a deeper, more sensual and subconscious connection).

am said...

"Trust yourself / And look not for answers where no answers can be found"

Thank you for your affirming thoughts on trust. Yes. Trust is a spiritual practice. In recent years, I've realized that in many situations I don't trust myself more than I don't trust others. Those lyrics from Bob Dylan often come to my mind (-:

catharus said...

Wow! What a word of gratitude! At least that's the emotions it evokes in me.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for your comment, Catharus.