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'Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower': a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke
'Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower'
A poem by Rainer Maria Rilke from 'Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29'.
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
The late Robert Hall was an American psychiatrist and lay Buddhist priest who worked to integrate Gestalt theory with practices of embodiment and meditation. Hall was also an author and poet. Take your time to sit with these words to consider how they land with you. What emerges in your thoughts and body? What is your felt sense? What images are evoked?
Step into the mesmerising world and words of multi-award-winning hiphop artist, poet, musician, playwright and author Kae Tempest with their poem, 'Hold your own'. Drink in the words or allow yourself to be transported into inner connection through sound. Take a moment to sit in and with this. What emerges for you?
So many of us in helping roles struggle to put ourselves first. For so long, our roles at home, at work and in the community have urged us ever forward in support of others. We have whispered to ourselves, 'but this person is so much more in need...', 'I have so much...', or just pushed on through without realising what we lose. This poem articulates so well the struggle between the different parts of us, and highlights the disconnect that so often occurs. I invite you to take a moment of gentleness with yourself in reading this poem by John Roedel.
Header image: Melanie Dretvic