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Here is another “found” poem I have created.  This time I’ve brought Rumi and Rilke together.  No small task!  Great poets they were but not contemporaries as are Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry in my previous found poem.  This particular found poem starts with two lines from a Rumi poem and then alternates with Rilke’s words on the next two lines. This pattern is repeated with Rumi’s words then Rilke’s. No more than 1-3 lines from any one poem is used. There are many ways to create a found poem – this is one way. Below I list the eight poems that were used to accomplish this.

At first I thought: I really can’t do this.  This could be tantamount to blasphemy on some level.  However I’ve recently discovered that God is a cat lover.  When I get to the pearly gates, I’ve got extra credit as well as he’s grading on a curve, so blasphemy I can do a little and still not risk the fantasy suite and hot tub that awaits me.  :)

And now without further adieu, I bring you Rumi and Rilke, together at last.

There’s a surge up from the surface
into what is beyond dying

Like dew from the morning grass,
what is ours floats into the air

It is sunlight slicing the dark
The way the night knows itself with the moon.

Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another’s life that’s wide and timeless

If each of us held a candle there,
and if we went in together,
we could see it.

Through the empty branches the sky remains.
It is what you have.

Inside this new love, die
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.

The Vigil – Rumi
The Second Elegy – Rilke
All Rivers at Once – Rumi (note: “I am” replaced with “It is”)
In the Arc of Your Mallet – Rumi (note: it is sunlight… and the way the night…, two separate Rumi poems put together in this one verse)
The Book of Monastic Life I,5 – Rilke
Elephant in the Dark – Rumi
The Book of Pilgrimage, II,1 – Rilke
Quietness – Rumi

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godandfire1

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going.  No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

Excerpted from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

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flowing-river

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say:
May what I do flow from me like a river
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

~Rainer Maria Rilke~
Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

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This poem is from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God.
It is written that Rilke received these poems in what he called
“inner dictations”.  Anita Barrows describes it as: “words that
came to him mornings and evenings and that struck him with
their force and persistence.”  Yet the publication of these
poems was delayed and for a few years they were read only
by the woman to whom they were dedicated.  Rilke considered
them to be as private and sacred as prayers.  How grateful I
am that he has shared their sacredness with the rest of the
world as he asks the great questions below: who is it, that
lives this life?

And yet, though we strain
against the deadening grip
of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:

All life is being lived.

Who is living it, then?
Is it the thing themselves,
or something waiting inside them,
like an unplayed melody in a flute?

Is it the winds blowing over the waters?
Is it the branches that signal to each other?

Is it flowers
interweaving their fragrances,
or streets, as they wind through time?

Is it the animals, warmly moving,
or the birds, that suddenly rise up?

Who lives it then? God, are you the one
who is living life?

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Breathing: you invisible poem! Complete
interchange of our own
essence with world-space. You counterweight
in which I rhythmically happen.

Single wave-motion whose
gradual sea I am;
you, most inclusive of all our possible seas —
space grown warm.

How many regions in space have already been
inside me. There are winds that seem like
my wandering son.

Do you recognize me, air, full of places I once absorbed?
You who were the smooth bark,
roundness, and leaf of my words.

~Rainer Maria Rilke

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World was in the face of the beloved –,
but suddenly it poured out and was gone:
world is outside, world can not be grasped.

Why didn’t I, from the full, beloved face
as I raised it to my lips, why didn’t I drink
world, so near that I could almost taste it?

Ah, I drank.  Insatiably I drank.
But I was filled up also, with too much
world, and drinking, I myself ran over.

~Rainer Maria Rilke
Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry
and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke
Edited and Translated by Stephen Mitchell

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Dear Ones,

Each time that I read Rainer Maria Rilke I am touched.  Sometimes there are tears of joy, sometimes tears of knowing.  Always I feel as if we are peering through the same window of Life and he has put what my heart feels onto paper.  When I find music that I like, I will listen to it over and over but with Rilke, I read a page at a time, savoring the rest for some other day and thankful for each reading.  I read his words often aloud to myself, as if I’m doing my own personal poetry reading.  And today I have chosen:

Only as a child am I awake
and able to trust
that after every fear and every night
I will behold you again.

However often I get lost,
however far my thinking strays,
I know you will be here, right here,
time trembling around you.

To me it is as if I were at once
infant, boy, man and more.
I feel that only as it circles
is abundance found.

I thank you, deep power
that works me ever more lightly
in ways I can’t make out.
The day’s labor grows simple now,
and like a holy face
held in my dark hands.

Excerpted from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

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