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 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


From A Year with Rilke: Daily Readings From the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke, Harper Collins and Harper One, (2009). Posted by kind permission of Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows.

Listen to Joanna Macy read this poem at OnBeing.