little bit of lagniappe

reflecting on everyday grace

Archive for the tag “Rainer Maria Rilke”

Just keep going

This piece by Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke found me a few weeks ago, and since then, I have held it in my heart’s pocket and read it as a daily reminder. No matter the obstacles we face and will continue to face, we must keep going, one step at a time, trusting in the larger shadows and light at work and remembering the hand that holds us.

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.
Embody me.

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.

-Rainer Maria Rilke,

trans. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy,

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God (The Berkley Publishing Group: 1996), 119.



It’s a bright and chilly new morn here in Georgia’s capital city, and a clear indication that fall — autumn is here. Leaves have begun to turn and cast down their golden, scarlet, and amber bodies on the ground, and with their turning and falling, they remind us of our own lives, which house both life and death. This season is one filled with both astonishing beauty and quiet suffering, both elation and desolation.

Thank you, autumn, for telling the story of life’s fragility and life’s vitality — and of our Creator who enables the tender places of both and still holds us up.

by Rainer Maria Rilke

The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”

And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all the other stars in the loneliness.

We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one… It’s in them all.

And yet there is Someone, whose hands,
infinitely calm, hold up all this falling.



Summer Prayer

All that has never yet been spoken

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.

I want to free what waits within me so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me, but this is what I need to say. May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents, these deepening tides moving out, returning, I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels into the open sea.

Rainer Maria Rilke


At this onset of sweet summertime, this is my prayer, friends — for you, for me, for all of us.

May we bask in the simple freedom of LIVING and truly and simply live.

May we not be impeded by what others think or say or by the limits we place on ourselves in fear.

May we instead let flow from us what needs to flow and receive with open arms whatever this glorious mystery of today might hold.

May what it hold look something like head-tossed-back laughter, simple smiles and exchanges with strangers, letting those you love know just that – you love them, space for silence and rest, the call to rise up and dance or sing or play, and gratitude for all that was and is.

In the opening sea of today, as Mary Oliver would kindly and plainly pose, Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Go, live it, and tell me…

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