October 20, 2011

The Machine

Sale of Building Scrap

The Machine endangers all we have made.
We allow it to rule instead of obey.
To build the house, cut the stone sharp and fast:
the carver's hand takes too long to feel its way.

The Machine never hesitates, or we might escape
and its factories subside into silence.
It thinks it's alive and does everything better.
With equal resolve it creates and destroys.

But life holds mystery for us yet. In a hundred places
we can still sense the source: a play of pure powers
that—when you feel it—brings you to your knees.

There are yet words that come near to the unsayable,
and, from crumbling stones, a new music
to make a sacred dwelling in a place we cannot own.

Sonnets to Orpheus II, 10


  1. I love this. The thought that all of man's hubris in our climbings and accomplishments haven't, and can't, outdo or cover the pure powers that bring can bring us to our knees. And that last stanza! From the ruins a spirit arises, that we can feel and hear, maybe even participate in, but not own. Humbling, truly. And yet empowering!

  2. the question then is how do we build our sacred dwelling in the place we do not own? if it is atop of the near unsayable and crumbling, then it is in acceptance, or in letting go, that we might build or arrive. it is in the very unknitting of that which we try to knit; it is at the mouth of creation itself, that place where all contradictions are born.

    i am beginning to see this and not with my mind through rilke, although he echoes it and makes it seem more real, but by living through my body and meeting (in part) that which is soul.



"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!