July 11, 2011

Transforming Dragons

L'Echelle, by Marc Chagall

We have no reason to distrust our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors. If it has an abyss, it is ours. If dangers are there, we must try to love them. And if we would live with faith in the value of what is challenging, then what now appears to us as most alien will become our truest, most trustworthy friend. Let us not forget the ancient myths at the outset of humanity's journey, the myths about dragons that at the last moment transform into princesses. Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act just once with beauty and courage. Perhaps every terror is, in its deepest essence, something that needs our recognition or help.

Borgeby gärd, Sweden, August 12, 1904
Letters to a Young Poet


  1. fantastic! i could wish to be fearless and to live as if "every terror is, in its deepest essence, something that needs our recognition or help." a different kind of complexity could emerge. steven

  2. Oh that we could remember this ancient wisdom! Beautifully rendered by Rilke and very encouraging, especially for those of us who keep many dragons in the stables.

  3. ohmygod!

    as though our terrors are the very rungs to our own ladders! but the extension of this, where rilke takes us, to think that it is up to us to not just recognize them/accept them, but nurture them, this is where i can't help but see his genius.

    i wonder how he translated as a walking, talking person? how can a man with thoughts like weightless birds have legs and hands like tree roots? he astounds me and tells me, you have so much further to go.



"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!