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I was just looking back through old posts and found one with some beautiful poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke, celebrating autumn. The season is creeping up, and I thought I’d share these poems again.

“Autumn” 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 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, holding up all this falling.

“Autumn Day” by Rilke as well:

Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials
and let loose the wind in the fields.

Bid the last fruits to be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
press them to ripeness, and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now will not build one
anymore.
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long
time,
will stay up, read, write long letters,
and wander the avenues, up and down,
restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.

There is a kind of pretty that a woman is around midnight,

standing in her bathroom,

staring into the mirror under a garish light.

Mascara and foundation freshly removed,

all flaws in her skin have been catalogued, appreciated, and forgotten.

Her hair,

once meticulously tucked back,

has now the cares of the day woven in as well,

and they have blown strands into the cool night breeze.

Tiny curls reminiscent of baby pictures frame her ears.

I am pretty, she remembers.

No makeup.

No bra.

No audience.

Just pajamas and bare feet and the smell of hot tea and toothpaste.

Just her and the mirror.

Sometimes singing, maybe silent.

There is a kind of pretty that a woman is around midnight,

and no one can see it but her.


~ahj

“Autumn” 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 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, holding up all this falling.

“Autumn Day” by Rilke as well:

Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials
and let loose the wind in the fields.

Bid the last fruits to be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
press them to ripeness, and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now will not build one
anymore.
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long
time,
will stay up, read, write long letters,
and wander the avenues, up and down,
restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.

So glad there is someone holding up all this falling.

We drove around a little extra to hear this beautiful song last night:

I roll the window down
and then begin to breathe in
the darkest country road
and the strong scent of evergreen
from the passenger seat as you are driving me home.

then looking upwards
I strain my eyes and try
to tell the difference between shooting stars and satellites
from the passenger seat as you are driving me home.

“do they collide?”
I ask and you smile.
with my feet on the dash
the world doesn’t matter.

when you feel embarrassed then I’ll be your pride
when you need directions then I’ll be the guide
for all time.
for all time.

(death cab for cutie)

It is striking how much more I appreciate romantic poetry now that I am really in love.  Here’s a poem from one of my favorite poets, Rainer Maria Rilke, who penned this in the early twentieth century (originally, and beautifully, in German).

Liebeslied (Lovesong)
How shall I withhold my soul so that
it does not touch on yours? How shall I
uplift it over you to other things?
Ah willingly would I by some
lost thing in the dark give it harbor
in an unfamiliar silent place
that does not vibrate on when your depths vibrate.
Yet everything that touches us, you and me,
takes us together as a bow’s stroke does,
that out of two strings draws a single voice.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what player has us in his hand?
O sweet song
. [emphasis mine]

Mmmm.  Isn’t that just beautiful?  …out of two strings draws a single voice.  Upon what instrument are we two spanned?  And what player has us in His hand?

O sweet, sweet song.