Stories from the Register
Quiet Friend Who Has Come So Far
Part Two, Sonnet XXIX
Rainier M. Rilke
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing
makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you
becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter,
turn yourself into wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads
of your senses,
the meaning discovered here.
And if the world has ceased
to hear you,
say to the silent Earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.