Rilke’s poem “Not Poor” is an inspirational platform for this writing space. However, I do not intend to do nothing but analyze the poem.
But to continue for now, Inge tells me that in the original German, Rilke’s stanza that Macy and Barrows interpret as Earth weaving us together like roses and making of us a garland is a bit different. The sense in the original is that Earth can make of us (or them, the third person plural of the original: the broken ones) roses, and wear them like a talisman or charm. With due respect to Barrows and Macy for creating a poem that made sense to them (I admire anyone who takes on the translation of poems!), I love and prefer this picture of Earth adorning herself with us, crafted from our essential being. And not only that. She wears us as a signifier of something magical—creative and powerful.
It is easy to feel that humans are paltry and pathetic ignoramuses when it comes to Earth’s ways. We’ve made such a mess. But what if who we really are, in our core, were an ornament to Earth and Life? So often I feel that it’s too late for this. But there is something beautifully seductive about imagining this conceit at the outset of a day. Can the talisman of a human rose (or a washed human stone) that Earth wears — me, this being I am — participate in how and what the Earth creates? It must be true, just as the inverse is true. And I don't just mean planting a garden of veggies, or flowers, or tending cows or chickens in a field.
I will post the original German text of “Not Poor” when Inge sends it to me. I cannot find it in German on my own, and I was impatient to continue writing.
Oops, shhh, it's supposed to be quiet in here.