I woke up with a song in my heart: “Jah Live” by Bob Marley. I had to play it, when I eventually got up from my bed. Before I played the song, I reached over to my makeshift night stand and read a poem by Rilke. I just flipped through the pages and came across this beautiful poem that I placed an asterisk next to sometime ago :
[ You Who Never Arrived ]
You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don’t even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of
the next moment. All the immense
images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt landscape,
cities, towers, and bridges, and un-
suspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods–
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house– , and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me. Streets that I chanced
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, gave back
my too-sudden image. Who knows? Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening…
The interesting thing about both the Rilke and Marley pieces is how they contrast each other. Bob’s song is very determined and triumphant. Rilke’s is actually hopeful that what he desires is actually out there– genuine love.
Two masters of words, blended together in my mind, this morning.
Updated: 11/30/07– Rethought the Rilke poem (in a meeting yesterday, by the way) and I do not know if he was really talking about love per se. A very spiritual man, Rilke was probably talking about God as the “beloved” that he is seeking. Maybe the poem is about this elusive validation that we all seek. Maybe.