surrender

“Someday, emerging at last from the violent insight,

let me sing out jubilation and praise to assenting angels.

Let not even one of the clearly-struck hammers of my heart

fail to sound because of a slack, a doubtful,

or a broken string. Let my joyfully streaming face

make me more radiant; let my hidden weeping arise

and blossom. How dear you will be to me then, you nights

of anguish. Why didn’t I kneel more deeply to accept you,

inconsolable sisters, and, surrendering, lose myself

in your loosened hair. How we squander our hours of pain.

How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration

to see if they have an end. Though they are really

our winter-enduring foliage, our dark evergreen,

one season in our inner year–, not only a season

in time–, but are place and settlement, foundation and soil and home.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Tenth Elegy, Duino Elegies translated by Stephen Mitchell.

 

note: Duino Elegies translated by Stephen Mitchell is my favorite translation.

4 thoughts on “surrender

  1. Wow – I’ve never read anything quite like that before…. I am reminded of when I read Eldridge Cleaver in the 60’s – the writing was so compelling I couldn’t begin to assess whether the poet was speaking of realities or fantasies. But now that I realize the same about most of my own thoughts, I don’t try to decide about other peoples’.

  2. I have not read this elegy before; it is beautiful! The images are quite striking, and I, too, want to surrender more completely. “How we squander our hours of pain” is such an interesting thought.

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