November 19, 2011


Two Poplars on a Hill

And we: always and everywhere spectators,
turned not toward the Open
but to the stuff of our lives.
It downs us. We set it in order.
It falls apart. We order it again
and fall apart ourselves.

Who has turned us around like this?
Whatever we do, we are in the posture
of one who is about to depart.
Like a person lingering
for a moment on the last hill
where he can see his whole valley—
that is how we live, forever
taking our leave.

From the Eighth Duino Elegy


  1. To his everlasting credit, Rilke never allows us to hide from the ultimate truth of our lives, and what could be more true than what he says here. We spend most of our time trying to bring order to "the stuff of our lives," but it "downs us," and when we attempt re-order it, things fall apart again, and so it goes, to use one of Vonnegut's favorite lines — whatever we do as spectators, we are always taking our leave.

  2. Oh, this is wonderful. Ordering, falling part. Ordering, falling apart. I'm lingering slightly ... but leaving now ...


"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!