Rainer Maria Rilke: “Silent Friend From Far” (from Sonnets to Orpheus, II:29)

Silent Friend From Far (from Sonnets to Orpheus, II:29)

Silent friend from far, do you feel the power
of your breath expanding to fill the space?
In the arcades of every dark church tower,
let yourself ring out. Learn to embrace

what eats at you: your hidden host.
Move in and out of the changes you find
and whatever you find that hurts you the most,
if its taste is bitter, turn it into wine.

See how this night of excess lets you
find magic where feelings come and go,
find meaning in conjunctions unknown to man.

And if your earthliness somehow forgets you,
say to the silent soil: I flow.
Say to the rushing waters: I am.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Translated from German by Paul Weinfield, © 2016
Photo by Oriol Angrill Jordà
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