December 9, 2011

Were You Not Always Distracted

Great Egret at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
by George McHenry of Transit Notes

Were you not always distracted by yearning,
as though some lover were about to appear?

Let yourself feel it, that yearning.
It connects you with those
who have sung it through the ages,
sung especially of love unrequited.
Shouldn't this oldest of sufferings
finally bear fruit for us?

From the First Duino Elegy


  1. I like to think of the broader connotation of yearning. Are we not all longing for something, even if it is not urequited love? "If only.....fill in the blank.
    And perhaps knowing that we all share this longing for somethiing, that knowledge of commonality, is comfort in itself: "it connects you with those who have sung it through the years." This knowledges is the fruit. For me.

  2. Thought you might enjoy seeing this post about the unveiling in Prague of a Rilke bust:

  3. Thanks again, Ruth and Lorenzo, for using one of my photos to illustrate a Rilke quote. I'm always honored, and like Rilke, I'm always "distracted by yearning." Since yearning can often be the source of discontent and suffering, it's reassuring to find Rilke reminding us that it's o.k. to let ourselves feel it, because, if for no other reason, it connects us to those who have sung it through the ages.

    I just returned from the bookstore with five new books of poetry. Why? I think I find comfort and inspiration in the songs of others, songs reminding me that my own yearnings are simply reflections of what is means to be a human being.

  4. it is our human condition, this yearning, this leaning. this is our motor. without it we are stagnant. yearn for love, yearn for completion, yearn for enlightenment, yearn for knowledge of god. it is all the same thing, i believe. we are born fragments. we are leaning and yearning to become again, apart of the whole.



"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!