December 26, 2011

The Double Realm

Reflections in the Water

Only he who lifts his lyre
in the Underworld as well
may come back
to praising, endlessly.

Only he who has eaten
the food of the dead
will make music so clear
that even the softest tone is heard.

Though the reflection in the pool
often ripples away,
take the image within you.

Only in the double realm
do our voices carry
all they can say.

Sonnets to Orpheus I, 9


  1. This speaks beautifully to our need to experience the whole of the world, both its beauty and its ugliness, to understand our place in it, what we contribute to it. To be in that thin place is, perhaps, when choice becomes clearest. We can best articulate what we have only by knowing what we've lost.

  2. I agree with Maureen.

    There is something about "going to Hell and back again" that builds character, insight and even wisdom.
    Not to mention cultivaitng enormous gratitude along the way.

  3. Love this! Without black, white isn't quite as bright...without yang! Take it all in and make it part of your life!

  4. I was listening to this podcast today, and interview with the Benedictine monk and Zen adapt Brother David Steindl-Rast where he uses this concept of the double realm to talk about life and death and gratitude in his ninetieth year. Thank you.

  5. Ah, I too have just come from the podcast interview with Brother David! I did an internet search for Double Realm and Rilke (whose poetry I know woefully little of) and found this blog.

    The podcast, by the way, can be found at


"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!