Rainer Maria Rilke
This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.
And to die, which is the letting go
of the ground we stand on
and cling to every day,
is like the swan,
when he nervously lets himself down into the water,
which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan,
unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried,
each moment more fully grown,
more like a king, further and further on.
Translated by Robert Bly
As I stood waiting to cross Calgary Trail to-day I realised for myself, not for the first time, that it takes a special courage to “let ones self down into the water”. The word courage comes from an old French word ‘cuer’ which means heart. Ours is the Wholehearted Way, no half measures, no half lowering oneself into the waters that carry us with infinite compassion. Thinking about it, there is no room for half heartedly crossing Calgary Trail either!
It has been an interesting day. Hope you like the poem as much as I do.
2 thoughts on “The Wholehearted Way.”
Wonderful poem from a wonderful poet! The poem contains so much of what I come up to in my spiritual training: the sense of “clumsy living” and “lumbering…through what is not done” when the critical mind arises; the “letting go of the ground we stand on” when meditation undercuts and melts such “grasped” perspectives; and the dropping down into the flow where there is nothing that needs to be protected.
Thank you, Rev. Master Mugo.
In Gassho, Jim
Dear Rev. Mugo
I really like that poem about the Swan.I’ve printed a copy to read at leisure.