Rilke and Advent

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Happy Birthday to Rainer Maria Rilke, born on December 4th, 1875 in Prague. 
Rilke is one of the German language's greatest 20th century poets. His poetry focuses "on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety." 

So that could be anytime then !!

Rilke's two most well-known verse sequences are the Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies. His two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. He also wrote more than 400 poems in French.

He resided throughout Europe during his lifetime, including a 12-year residency is Paris, where he befriended the famed sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Rilke died on December 29, 1926.
I've been searching for some Rilke poems and sayings with Advent themes
and came up with these..... 

“The deepest experience of the creator is feminine, for it is experience of receiving and bearing.”

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And then that girl the angels came to visit
 And then that girl the angels came to visit,
she woke also to fruit, frightened by beauty,
given love, shy, in her
so much blossom, the forest
no one had explored, with paths leading everywhere.

They left her alone to walk and to drift
and the spring carried her along.

Her simple and unselfcentered Mary-life
became marvellous and castlelike.

Her life resembled trumpets on the feast days
that reverberated far inside every house;
and she, once so girlish and fragmented,
was so plunged now inside her womb,
and so full inside from that one thing
and so full – enough for a thousand others –
that every creature seemed to throw light on her
and she was like a slope with vines, heavily bearing.

Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Robert Bly (New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1981.

I love Rilke's image of the openness of Mary's life and faith as a "forest no one has explored, with paths leading everywhere." 

In the light of much controversial current news on the role of women in the church I wonder if it contains a prophetic message.. 

and here.

When I read this next one, the first image that came to mind was John the Baptist, who we meet this Sunday in the Gospel. His was a voice that emerged out of years spent preparing alone in the solitary wilderness.

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. 

 Rodin statue

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 to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

[Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29, trans. by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows]
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I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

A poem from Rilke’s Book of Hours : Love Poem to God by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Joanna Macy, Riverhead, 2005

"Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

from Letters To A Young Poet

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