April 6th, 2017

Poetry defined

A response to Rilke: a Poetry Friday post

This month, my poetry sisters and I are responding to a poem selected by Sara Lewis Holmes - a lovely poem by Rainer Maria Rilke:

You, darkness, of whom I am born---

I love you more than the flame
that limits the world
to the circle it illumines
and excludes all the rest.

But the dark embraces everything
shapes and shadows, creatures and me,
people, nations---just as they are.

It lets me imagine
a great presence stirring beside me

I believe in the night.


---Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Hours, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

Sara's "rules" were that we needed to respond to this poem in some way - echoes or talk back or whatever. Here is what I came up with, after pondering Rilke's poem. As you will see, it borrows from several sources, from Adlai Stevenson to Robert Frost to Harry Dixon Loes.

Better to light a candle?
Or to wrap the darkness
like a blanket--
covering, dampening,
extinguishing?

No, the dark is too oppressive
without pinprick stars, blinks
of fireflies, glowing coals,
however dim.

I have been one acquainted with the night,
and I reject it as a place of darkness.

I choose to let it shine.

Here's where you can find the poems by my poetry sisters, responding to Rilke:

Sara
Liz
Laura
Tanita
Tricia

And here's where you can find the Poetry Friday roundup:





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