May 18, 2011

A Hunger Drives Us

Death of Birth: Rainer Maria Rilke

A hunger drives us.
We want to contain it all in our naked hands,
our brimming senses, our speechless hearts.
We want to become it, or offer it—but to whom?
We could hold it forever—but, after all,
what can we keep? Not the beholding,
so slow to learn. Not anything that has happened here.
Nothing. There are the hurts. And, always, the hardships.
And there's the long knowing of love—all of it
unsayable. Later, amidst the stars, we will see:
these are better unsaid.

From the Ninth Duino Elegy


  1. With words he knows how to express the nothing that is not there and the nothing that is that Stevens understood. I could think you up to where thinking ends . . . Rilke said in a reading the other day. At times it can be frustrating not to be able to express what is felt. I wonder if that is my deepest longing, to say what can't be said, and this will go on as long as there is heat in the earth, alive, that keeps trying to get out through its crusty skin. Until we are with the stars, at which time, the work will be simply to shine.

  2. ruth i am right there with that thought - "i wonder if it is my deepest longing, to say what can't be said". the deepest longing i feel, to move beyond my limited abilities to express what i sense. steven


"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!