Monday, November 20, 2006

Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

Oh my.

I've found the poet that fuses physics and spirituality in an intricate dance. I'm so infused with spirit, I think this is what people call conversion. Terrifying and so unbelievably beautiful.

Rilke denounces a personified god and instead talks to the universe. He sees human beings as the great witnesses to beauty -- celebrating and loving all that exists. In that sense, we are creators -- touching things with life so they can be seen. Heisenberg would agree; we touch all that exists when we witness it, and both are changed. Rilke says it better.

The hour is striking so close above me,
so clear and sharp,
that all my sense ring with it.
I feel it now: there's a power in me
to grasp and give shape to my world.

I know that nothing has ever been real
without my beholding it.
All becoming has needed me.
My looking ripens things
and they come toward me, to meet and be met.
If you accept that the entire universe is connected in the way that particles witness each other when they interact, then the totality of that universe becomes whole in a way that some would call God. This feeling of connection and being bound inextricably to all that exists is what others would call love.

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.

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