15 Sep
Posted in: Poems
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Mysterious Encounter

I can’t seem to find the recording of one of Phillip Moffitt’s talks from the Concentration Retreat, in which he opened (and closed) by reading a poem by Rilke (not the one I posted on Friday). The poem is strange and dark — but beautiful — and it has stayed with me whenever I sit. I can often “hear” Phillip’s voice saying, “notice the breath as it arises out of stillness….and returns to stillness….notice the spaciousness between the breaths….the emptiness….and the arising out of emptiness…”

When I find the talk, I’ll post a link. In the mean time, here’s the poem:

Sonnets to Orpheus, Second Part, No. XXIX
by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell

Silent friend of many distances, feel
how your breath enlarges all of space.
Let your presence ring out like a bell
into the night. What feeds upon your face

grows mighty from the nourishment thus offered.
Move through transformation, out and in.
What is the deepest loss that you have suffered?
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.

In this immeasurable darkness, be the power
that rounds your senses in their magic ring,
the sense of their mysterious encounter

And if the earthly no longer know your name,
whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.
To the flashing water say: I am. 


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