AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

28 March 2017

Unroll.

Canaletto, A View of Walton Bridge (detail), 1754


The BOOK of a MONK’S LIFE

I live my life in circles that grow wide
And endlessly unroll,
I may not reach the last, but on I glide
Strong pinioned toward my goal.
About the old tower, dark against the sky,
The beat of my wings hums,
I circle about God, sweep far and high
On through milleniums.
Am I a bird that skims the clouds along,
Or am I a wild storm, or a great song?

Many have painted her. But there was one
Who drew his radiant colours from the sun.
Mysteriously glowing through a background dim
When he was suffering she came to him,
And all the heavy pain within his heart
Rose in his hands and stole into his art.
His canvas is the beautiful bright veil
Through which her sorrow shines. There where the frail
Texture o'er her sad lips is closely drawn
A trembling smile softly begins to dawn . . .
Though angels with seven candles light the place
You cannot read the secret of her face.

In cassocks clad I have had many brothers
In southern cloisters where the laurel grows,
They paint Madonnas like fair human mothers
And I dream of young Titians and of others
In which the God with shining radiance glows.
But though my vigil constantly I keep
My God is dark—like woven texture flowing,
A hundred drinking roots, all intertwined;
I only know that from His warmth I'm growing.
More I know not: my roots lie hidden deep
My branches only are swayed by the wind.

Thou Anxious One! And dost thou then not hear
Against thee all my surging senses sing?
About thy face in circles drawing near
My thought floats like a fluttering white wing.
Dost thou not see, before thee stands my soul
In silence wrapt my Springtime's prayer to pray?
But when thy glance rests on me then my whole
Being quickens and blooms like trees in May.
When thou art dreaming then I am thy Dream,
But when thou art awake I am thy Will
Potent with splendour, radiant and sublime,
Expanding like far space star-lit and still
Into the distant mystic realm of Time.

I love my life's dark hours
In which my senses quicken and grow deep,
While, as from faint incense of faded flowers
Or letters old, I magically steep
Myself in days gone by: again I give
Myself unto the past:—again I live.
Out of my dark hours wisdom dawns apace,
Infinite Life unrolls its boundless space . . .
Then I am shaken as a sweeping storm
Shakes a ripe tree that grows above a grave
'Round whose cold clay the roots twine fast and warm—
And Youth's fair visions that glowed bright and brave,
Dreams that were closely cherished and for long,
Are lost once more in sadness and in song.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Thanks to Mme. Scherzo for the clouds.

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