Rainer Maria Rilke


rainer-maria-rilkeMitchell (in The Enlightened Heart) is about to call him the greatest poet of the 20th century. But the selections in his book are too long to excerpt effectively here. Alas, the challenge and limitations of all anthologies!

My path toward poetry, toward seeking God’s Word Beneath the Words, got started by Rainer Rilke. He knows so much about God and the Inner Life that his writing always brings me to Lenten themes, always gets me thinking about prayer, meditation, and the inner life. I couldn’t see a series on spiritual writing without including a couple of Rilke poems that have considerably shaped me.

“I love the dark hours of my being” is the first to relay. I find it profoundly private and mysterious, and yes a bit melancholy and brooding (which might not be your favored approach!) The closing line about “a second huge and timeless life” is one I often think of in youth ministry. Just as we start to break from parents and begin to conceive of ourselves as in relationship to Christ we start a second narrative about Who We Are and Where We Are Going. The development of this narrative (Rilke’s huge and timeless life) is the topic of all Christian Education.


I love the dark hours of my being

In which my senses drop into the deep.

I have found in them, as in old letters,

my private life, that is already lived through,

and become wide and powerful now, like legends.

Then I know that there is room in me

for a second huge and timeless life.

Looking forward to seeing you in worship –

Pastor Don