I’ve been watching the unfolding calamity of the refugee crisis in Europe, searching for a response – how to process the grief and not turn away from the darkness that I’m seeing. Then I found this beautiful poem by Rilke (from Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29) and it helped. I hope it helps you too…
Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower
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.
–Rainer Marie Rilke
translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows
Image: Red Cross