100 Day Project – Days 49 and 50

DAY 49 (June 28th, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

From the Book of Hours

No one lives his life.

Disguised since childhood,
haphazardly assembled
from voices and fears and little pleasures,

We come of age as masks.
Our true face never speaks.

Somewhere there must be storehouses
where all these lives are laid away
like suits of armor or old carriages
or clothes hanging limply on the walls.

Maybe all paths lead there,
to the repository of unlived things.

DAY 50 (June 29th, 2017)

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

From the Book of Hours

And yet, though we strain
against the deadening grip
of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:

All life is being lived.

Who is living it, then?
Is it the things themselves,
or something waiting inside them,
like an unplayed melody in a flute?

Is it the winds blowing over the waters?
Is it the branches that signal to each other?

Is it flowers
interweaving their fragrances,
or streets, as they wind through time?

Is it animals, warmly moving,
or the birds, that suddenly rise up?

Who lives it, then? God, are you the one
who is living life?

My Commentary

I combined these two poems together.


You are there.
Hiding in the brush on a well-worn path,
although the patient and practiced eye
may catch you darting like a house wren
from your nest.

Or you may roll off dew-wet, undulant hills
like a morning fog in early spring.

Or you may rise like vapor
from the cracked concrete
in an alleyway behind tortured faces.

How many times must I leave you
only to find you again in these places?

And yet these are only your robes and crown.
You are beneath and within them.
You are wherever I may truly look
with a wide, unblinking eye.

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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