Rainer Maria Rilke

(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926 / Prague / Czech Republic)

Exposed on the cliffs of the heart


Exposed on the cliffs of the heart. Look, how tiny down there,
look: the last village of words and, higher,
(but how tiny) still one last
farmhouse of feeling. Can you see it?
Exposed on the cliffs of the heart. Stoneground
under your hands. Even here, though,
something can bloom; on a silent cliff-edge
an unknowing plant blooms, singing, into the air.
But the one who knows? Ah, he began to know
and is quiet now, exposed on the cliffs of the heart.
While, with their full awareness,
many sure-footed mountain animals pass
or linger. And the great sheltered birds flies, slowly
circling, around the peak's pure denial. - But
without a shelter, here on the cliffs of the heart...

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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