January 25, 2011

The Beauty of You

In deep nights I dig for you like treasure.
For all I have seen
that clutters the surface of my world
is poor and paltry substitute
for the beauty of you
that has not yet happened...

From The Book of Hours II, 34


  1. This passage from the poem "The Beauty of You" is replete with longing and hope. It is enough, on its own, but I'd like to link to the entire poem for anyone who wants to read it, because it is so beautiful, and deep, with rich imagery. It's possible that other parts of this poem will appear at future posts this year, I haven't read ahead. But certainly more than one reading of the poem can't hurt. I'd like to read it often.

    Here is another sample set of lines from this astonishing poem:

    I yearn to be held
    in the great hands of your heart-
    oh let them take me now.
    Into them I place these fragments, my life,
    and you, God- spend them however you want.

    The entire poem can be read here

    1. ❣WHERE❣💧❓
      Uhhhh ~ Ruth. I have never answered a blog. I'm not even really sure what 1 is. Very not Internet savvy. And new to it @ almost 50. : ) But ~ your wOrds? It.....it's..It was like a Build Up! And well Vvery Well Said Madam !! Never in my Life....!!!....since I fell in loOve with " Annabelle Lee" by Edgar Allen Poe ~ Now thAts a Love Poem❣ So ~ after your build up ( by the way, I lOhOve great sayings by AnYone ~ and superb poetry and or writing and music ~ may I suggest The Damned ' Santum Santorum '? UHH! ~ and that makes me feel as if it will rip out my soul and heart as I hold my breath sO tightly! I am hm bound & bedridden and see no one and no one comes n sees me, so, visceral I dO,nEEd. So ~ I'm watching a film rt now ~ ' The Light Between Oceans ' ~ and she finds a books w/ this in it. It grAbbed Me so, that I ImmEdiatly paused it to come & look it up! Then, I read your comment above ~ beautiful ~ and then ~ I read the other verse you've shared with it. Uhhhhh......I MUST read the whOle thing, but jhust came on to say ThAnk You! I hope I can find the entire poem, as I'm not good at navigating the Internet.
      🌸 with all my sincerity ~ michelle 🌸

  2. That is an excellent and much appreciated link, Ruth. I think it actually contains three different poems from the poems grouped together under the Book of Pilgrimage as part of the Book of Hours. It is almost uniformly marvelous throughout, every line bringing new meanings of digging and finding and losing, of shattering and gathering. Beauty as always present, yet always evading us. The feeling that so much of our endeavors are digging for the "beauty of you that has not yet happened" echos in my mind long after my eyes have left the page...

  3. Oh I see, Lorenzo. That's what those lines of German are, titles of different poems. :)

    The images in those verses are just stunning!

  4. Thanks so much for this wonderful passage from Rilke, and a special thanks, Ruth, for the link to the other poems. The movements in these poems are like a great symphony of the quester's life — seeking, finding, losing again, but always pressing forward in the faith that there will be some form of redemption, if not in what we find, then at least in the process of searching itself. The digging is endless for those who find the clutter on the surface of the world to be "a poor and paltry substitute" for the beauty of what one knows is there, but which is so mysterious, so elusive, that it appears always to have "not yet happened . . ."

    I love the lines you have chosen to quote in your comments, Ruth. Rilke does not seem to expect that his fragmented life will ever reach wholeness. He seems to accept the fragmentation and simply prays that the fragments will be spent for some noble purpose. Can any of us do more than this?

  5. So glad, George, yes. I can't get enough of the pilgrimage poems! The lines are endless.

    And the section I quoted, that you like, the phrase "God-spend them however you want" reminds me of this I just read, something Virginia Woolf said (today is her birthday):

    "Arrange whatever pieces come your way."

  6. The beauty in these lines happens in the impending,
    for the beauty of you
    in that has not yet happened

    What gorgeous trust. What gorgeous growing, knowing more is to come.

    And then I stop and read comments and realize that this is not of a woman, but of god, that Rilke writes of. But then again, so it is with god, great faith in the beauty to come.

    It seems to me truth and beauty, perhaps divinity, are what artists drive towards, as though their intention were a huge bus. Even when they are faithless, the bus rages on. It is a bus, it is a bus! I think it is the wise ones who never expect to arrive in their pressing.

    Wonderful ideas to consider.


  7. How do you bear it Ruth? Lorenzo?
    I cannot. I read a little and it is too much, too much.
    Tonight, anyway.
    Maybe tomorrow will be easier?

    Erin's words soothe me... 'it is the wise ones who never expect to arrive in their pressing.'

    Rilke hurts me, makes it difficult to breathe, Rumi does not. I wonder why?


"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!