100 Day Project – Days 83 and 84

DAY 83 (August 1st, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

From the Book of Hours

I am praying again, Awesome One.

You hear me again, as words
from the depths of me
rush toward you in the wind.

I’ve been scattered in pieces,
torn by conflict,
mocked by laughter,
washed down in drink.

In alleyways I sweep myself up
out of garbage and broken glass.
With my half-mouth I stammer you,
who are eternal in your symmetry.
I lift to you my half-hands
in wordless beseeching, that I may find again
the eyes with which I once beheld you.

I am a house gutted by fire
where only the guilty sometimes sleep
before the punishment that devours them
hounds them out into the open.

I am a city by the sea
sinking into a toxic tide
I am strange to myself, as though someone unknown
had poisoned my mother as she carried me.

It’s here in all the pieces of my shame
that now I find myself again.
I yearn to belong to something, to be contained
in an all-embracing mind that sees me
as a single thing.
I yearn to be held
in the great hands of your heart—
oh let them take me now.
Into them I place these fragments, my life,
and you, God—spend them however you want.

DAY 84 (August 2nd, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

From the Book of Hours

So God, you are the one
who comes after.

It is sons who inherit,
while fathers die.
Sons stand and bloom.

You are my heir.

My Commentary

I’ve combined these two into a single poem


Passers by all in odd veneer,
foppery and fakery in forms refined
and expertly practiced before gilt mirrors.

When will you learn to be yourself
and trust your own true reflection?
What are you in your heart?—
the infant heart that beats within your heart?—
and the moment of your conception
when you and your God last were one?

Lose that and all is lost—
that is death.

Both of these poems came from Rilke’s Book of Hours, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy, which you can purchase on Amazon.

Book of Hours
Book of Hours

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.
Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being.

I started this 100 Day Project on May 11th. My project is to read a poem, and write at least one first-draft stanza inspired by that poem. I’ll post the results at www.bradseverance.com/category/100-day-project/


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