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You, Darkness by Rainer Maria Rilke

A poem from the Book of Hours. Read by the amazingly talented Ghizela Rowe. Translator unknown. I’m a big fan of Rilke and I have numerous posts on him at this site. This is just one (internal link).

Given the often wide variations in translations to English, I assumed at first that a major problem in understanding Rilke was the language barrier.

I see, though, that German philosophers and theologians have an equally hard time in concluding what Rilke means.

Our bafflement at some of Rilke’s symbology perhaps echoes our bafflement when we wrestle with the meaning and the reasoning of God.

You, Darkness

by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926)

You Darkness, from whence I spring,
I love You more than all the fires
that fence the world;
for the fire encircles everyone,
but excludes You from their sight.

But Darkness draws everything to it:
shapes and flames, and animals….and myself.
How it unfolds them all!–
Man and Might–

It might be that a Great Power
moves in my vicinity.

I believe in Nights.
Nights are my Certainty.

Another translation, this time by David Whyte.

You, Darkness

by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926)

You darkness from which I come,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence out the world,
for the fire makes a circle
for everyone
so that no one sees you anymore.
But darkness holds it all:
the shape and the flame,
the animal and myself,
how it holds them,
all powers, all sight —

and it is possible: its great strength
is breaking into my body.
I have faith in the night.

By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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