Saturday, September 1, 2007
Five years ago, when my husband was in the ICU and in danger of dying, and my life fell apart, I couldn't read fiction anymore. It was too exhausting, the meanings too hidden in plot and metaphor for me to work through. But I could read poetry; poetry cuts to the quick, pulsing heart of things. I still turn to it when I'm in deep need. So a friend gave me this poem when we started this struggle with the school district. I was cleaning off the kitchen table today and found it again. It's Rilke and breathtaking, as he always is.... Perhaps some of you have need of it too.
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.