Rilke unplugged

in your presence - Robert Stone
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in your presence

 

I’m too alone

yet not alone enough

to make each hour holy

 

I’m too small

yet not small enough

to be in your presence

 

like a thing, like a thing, just as it is

 

in the world, in the world, just as it is

 

- from Rilke's The Book of Hours I,13

(based on the translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

in the madhouse - Robert Stone
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in the madhouse

They are quiet now. The walls

inside their minds have fallen.

The hours of understanding

draw near and soon will pass.

Sometimes at night, watching at the window,

it is suddenly all right.

What their hands touch is solid,

and their hearts lift as if in prayer.

Their eyes gaze, relieved,

upon the garden

at last undeformed, and safely

contained within its square,

which in contrast to the uneasy world

keeps being itself and never gets lost.

 

-from New Poem

(translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

to what can we turn - Robert Stone
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to what can we turn

 

Oh, to what, then, can we turn

in our need?

Not to an angel. Not to a person.

Animals, perceptive as they are,

notice that we are not really at home

in this world of ours. Perhaps there is

a particular tree we see every day on the hillside,

or a street we have walked,

or the warped loyalty of habit

that does not abandon us.

 

Oh, and night, the night, when wind

hurls the universe at our faces.

For whom is night not there?

 

-from the First Duino Elegy

(translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

alone - Robert Stone
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alone

 

of my heart I will make a tower

and stand on its very edge

where nothing else exists

just once again pain

what cannot be said

and once again world

once again in all that vastness

the single thing I am

one final face

what can never be appeased

 

in all that vastness

the single thing I am

one final face

what can never be appeased

that ultimate face

enduring as storm

at one ….

at one with its gravity

drawn by distances into some promise

 

-from the Book of Hours

(translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

afternoon - Robert Stone
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afternoon, before Beethoven's Missa Solemnis

 

Let yourself not be misled by the notes

that fall to you from the generous wind.

Wait watchfully. Hands that are eternal

may come to play upon your strings.

 

-from Early Journals

(translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

am I not the whole - Robert Stone
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am I not the whole?

 

God, are you then the All?

And I the separated one

who tumbles and rages?

 

Am I not the whole? 

Am I not all things

when I weep,

and you the single one, who hears it all?

 

-from the Book of Hours II,3

(translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

you come and go - Robert Stone
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you come and go 

 

You come and go.

The doors swing closed

ever more gently,

almost without a shudder.

Of all who move through 

the quiet houses,

you are the quietest ...

 

For all things sing you:

at times we just hear them more clearly.

… I imagine you

your wholeness cascades into many shapes.

You run like a herd of luminous deer

and I am dark, I am forest. (I am here.)

 

You are a wheel at which I stand,

whose dark spokes sometimes catch me up,

revolve me nearer to the center.

Then all the work I put my hand to

widens from turn to turn.

 

-from the book of Hours I, 45

(translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

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