Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Too alone, not alone enough

One of the delights in my time, so far, at St. Paul's is leading a class, Journey of Faith, something of a Christianity 101 course for adults preparing for confirmation, reception or reaffirmation. We began in December and concluded with the bishop's visitation in February. Our class was wonderfully fun and the discussion grew more lively every week. 

One of our participants, Maggie Simon Fyfe, introduced us to the poetry of Prague-born Austrian poet Ranier Maria Rilke (he went by "R.M. Rilke"), 1875-1926. Here is one of the poems Maggie read for us, and I share it with you today:
I am too alone in the world, and not alone enough
To make every minute holy.
I am too tiny in this world, and not tiny enough
Just to lie before you like a thing,
Shrewd and secretive.
I want my own will, and I want simply to be my will,
As it goes toward action,
And in the silent, sometimes hardly moving times
When something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.
I want to be a mirror for your whole body,
And I never want to be blind, or to be too old
To hold up your heavy and swaying picture.
I want to unfold.
I don’t want to stay folded anywhere,
Because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
And I want my grasp of things
True before you. I want to describe myself
Like a painting that I looked at
Closely for a long time,
Like a saying that I finally understood,
Like the pitcher I use every day,
Like the face of my mother
Like a ship
That took me safely
Through the wildest storm of all.

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