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This time of year is a flawless reminder of the reappearance of new life. It’s not just the powerful message of Easter, it’s the power of spring in all its forms. This week’s Words of Connection features two contributions. The first is by Rilke and was sent when we looked at the theme of patience, but as Kris Henley pointed out, this text is about what it means to live. The other contribution is a Vernal Equinox prayer from a leading pagan in our City, which didn’t make it in time for a March issue, so here it is.
We open with the quote from Rilke, followed by the Spring Equinox Prayer to the Maiden. This is followed by Exile, a spiritual poem by Kathleen Raine. A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost is followed by a poem by the Japanese poet and translator Shuntaro Tanikawa, extolling the beauty of cherry blossom. The Extreme Delicacy of this Easter Morning by May Sarton ends our Words of Connection.
Our video is three hours in a Spring Forest. Still, peaceful and melodious.
Once more thank you for your amazing appreciation that comes from far and wide… from Guilford to Italy…from Balcombe to Brighton and beyond. Thankyou.
Very best wishes,
Rainer Maria Rilke 1875 -1926
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
SPRING EQUINOX PRAYER TO THE MAIDEN
Maiden Goddess of the dawn light
We salute you for you bring
All the sights of green life growing
Nature luminous with spring.
With every step you scatter music
Droplets of a melody
Singing to those who will listen
Of a time that is to be.
At your touch
The earth awakens
Birdsongs soar into the air
Seedlings thrust up through the damp earth
Sleepy creatures leave their lair.
May we share your spring time blessings
Help us be all we can be
Let us feel our full connections
To the land …. so may it be
May the love of the Old Ones bring peace back to the world.
Kathleen Raine 1908 – 2003
Then, I had no doubt
That snowdrops, violets, all creatures, I myself
Were lovely, were loved, were love.
Look, they said,
And I had only to look deep into the heart,
Dark, deep into the violet, and there read
Before I knew of any word for flower or love,
The flower, the love, the word.
They never wearied of telling their being; and I
Asked of the rose, only more rose, the violet
More violet; untouched by time
No flower withered or flame died,
But poised in its own eternity, until the looker moved
On to another flower, opening its entity
A PRAYER IN SPRING
Robert Frost 1874-1963
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.
OVER CHERRY BLOSSOMS
Over cherry blossoms
The deep sky
Over cherry blossoms
Over the sky
I can climb on forever
Once in spring
I with God
Had a quiet talk
THE EXTREME DELICACY OF THIS EASTER MORNING
May Sarton 1912-1995
The extreme delicacy of this Easter morning
Spoke to me as a prayer and as a warning.
It was light on the brink, spring light
After a rain that gentled my dark night.
I walked through landscapes I had never seen
Where the fresh grass had just begun to green,
And its roots, watered deep, sprung to my tread;
The maples wore a cloud of feathery red,
But flowering trees still showed their clear design
Against the pale blue brightness chilled like wine.
And I was praying all the time I walked,
While starlings flew about, and talked, and talked.
Somewhere and everywhere like spoke the word.
The dead trees woke; each bush held its bird.
I prayed for delicate love and difficult,
That all be gentle now and know no fault,
That all be patient—as a wild rabbit fled
Sudden before me. Dear love, I would have said
(And to each bird who flew up from the wood),
I would be gentler still if that I could,
For on this Easter morning it would seem
The softest footfall danger is, extreme. . .
And so I prayed to be less than the grass
And yet to feel the Presence that might pass.
I made a prayer. I heard the answer, “Wait,
When all is so in peril, so delicate!”