Thursday, November 27, 2014

to truly consecrate the hour

I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone

by Rainer Maria Rilke

I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small
to be to you just object and thing,
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.

I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere I wish to stay crooked, bent;
for there I would be dishonest, untrue.
I want my conscience to be
true before you;
want to describe myself like a picture I observed
for a long time, one close up,
like a new word I learned and embraced,
like the everday jug,
like my mother's face,
like a ship that carried me along
through the deadliest storm.

I've read this poem by Rilke dozens of times, more. But every time, a different line comes forward. This morning, it's the description of being not alone enough to truly consecrate the hour. Which has led me to think about degrees of alone-ness. The importance of being alone enough, small enough. Thinking about what it would be to truly consecrate an hour. 

Okay, and this: I 'want to describe myself like a picture observed / for a long time, one close up.' 

A bit like the desire to take a selfie

This desire to be true before another, the desire to be known. The questioning that we most of us do: how to be true to ourselves. How to be in this world. How to consecrate the hours, how to dedicate our energies, how to reach what is sacred to us, and then also, how to unfold. How to be with others, how to be alone, how to be true, in both circumstances. 

Reading a poem, early morning, with coffee. This too, is a way of being alone, not alone. 


  1. Hmm, something to think about today - your line - how to make time holy.... and yet, the last few lines speak to me loudest today, thank you Shawna. xo

    1. It's a poem to return to, isn't it? Thanks, Leigh.


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