a.long.settlement (project).

And how I will cherish you then, you nights
of grieving, sisters I couldn’t console.
How I wish I had gone on my knees more freely,
surrendered myself more loosely to your loosened hair.
Sorrows — how we waste them! How we keep looking ahead
at their sad length, to see if maybe they’ll end.
When really they’re nothing more than our winter foliage,
our dark evergreen, just one of the seasons
of our hidden year — and not only season,
but setting, settlement, campground, the place we live.


Rainer Maria Rilke,  Duino Elegies, #10
trans. by Gary Miranda

It has taken me a lifetime to settle down into my sorrows, to pitch my tent in this campground where the human family lives.  I’ve turned instead toward ambition or love, built a house of happiness on higher ground.

Yet, all the while, if we are to believe Rilke, our sorrows lie below, a dark and fertile season to also hold us. And not just that – they are the place where, together, we all live as one.  Of course, moments rise into the light, shimmer in a dazzling grace.  April flourishes, yes! Joy bounds out of secret places.  But he is right to hold our feet to this common ground.  I find, at last, it is freeing to take up residence in this wintry season.  I do not want to waste any portion of my life, no matter how it is given.  Especially not the nights of grieving.  They are sisters to my joy.

When I live in this camp, my breath deepens.  My senses waken.  Mystery I cannot name enters in.  I don’t need to console my sorrows, or manage them, or turn away from their tender faces. I simply want to bear them, like evergreen boughs bear the snow.

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~ by Susan on 01/08/2011.

2 Responses to “a.long.settlement (project).”

  1. I like these thoughts. Beautiful enough to wrap realism with idealism, without altruism.

  2. Thanks you for continuing to share these wonderful thoughts.

    I have been reading
    Psalms of Lament by Ann Weems
    These are Psalms she has written since the death of her young son.
    I recommend.
    Take Care, Dick

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