Monday, April 4, 2011

This Week's Inspiration

      The Man Watching
      Rainer Maria Rilke

      I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
      so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
      that a storm is coming,
      and I hear the far-off fields say things
      I can't bear without a friend,
      I can't love without a sister

      The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
      across the woods and across time,
      and the world looks as if it had no age:
      the landscape like a line in the psalm book,
      is seriousness and weight and eternity.

      What we choose to fight is so tiny!
      What fights us is so great!
      If only we would let ourselves be dominated
      as things do by some immense storm,
      we would become strong too, and not need names.

      When we win it's with small things,
      and the triumph itself makes us small.
      What is extraordinary and eternal
      does not want to be bent by us.
      I mean the Angel who appeared
      to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
      when the wrestler's sinews
      grew long like metal strings,
      he felt them under his fingers
      like chords of deep music.

      Whoever was beaten by this Angel
      (who often simply declined the fight)
      went away proud and strengthened
      and great from that harsh hand,
      that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
      Winning does not tempt that man.
      This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
      by constantly greater beings.

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