For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Monday, 24 October 2016

Onto A Vast Plain

Krista Tippett (Image from Wikimedia Commons)
I've been enjoying the podcasts on Krista Tippett's inspiring website, On Being (thanks, George McHenry). Out walking this morning I listened to her conversation with Joanna Macy — translator of Rilke, philosopher of ecology and Buddhist scholar.

Summer has gone and winter storms will soon be with us.

'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:
he whom they flee is the one
you move toward. All your senses
sing him, 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 thought
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 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 he who began it all
can feel you when he reaches for you.

RILKE Book of Hours, II 1 

Translated by JOANNA MACY and ANITA BARROWS

7 comments:

George said...

As I noted in my comment on Facebook, I'm delighted that you have discovered the richness of On Being, and I also think you might really enjoy Krista Tippett's recent book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living. I also love the Rilke poem you have chosen for this post. So rich and deep in meaning!

The Solitary Walker said...

That poem is wonderful, isn't it, George - as so many of Rilke's poems are. He goes so deep.

Amanda Summer said...

Beautiful words of Rilke....but I actually look forward to the shift in seasons from summer to autumn. Time for a hearty glass of red while cooking a pot of Boeuf Bourguignon on the stove.

The Solitary Walker said...

Sounds good to me!

Cris M said...

Hi Robert, I discovered Krista Tippett and On Being at the beginning of this year, after a conversation he had with Dr. BJ Miller, to then discover that a recording of Martin Sheen about the Camino came from her show too. Since then I have been downloading lots of podcasts... the ones from David Whyte, John O´Donohue, Martin Sheen, YoYo Ma, BJ,Bruce Kramer, just to mention a few, are my favourite... lots and lots of wise people out there... Nowadays, with the lack of content of almost everything, it is amazing and refreshing to find places of "richness" as George described it.
Hugs
Cris

The Solitary Walker said...

Hi Cris, yes, it's an interesting site.Do you also know parabola.org and Maria Popova's Brain Pickings?

Cris M said...

Hi Robert, I do not! But I am going to check right in this moment! Thanks for the tip!