Rilke's desire to unfold

After my post yesterday, my friend Amy Palko* shared this quote with me:

I want to unfold.
I don't want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
                     ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
                        from The Book of Hours* 
Which made the word "unfolding" resonate all the more with me.

(Rilke and I share a birthday, ninety-nine years apart. And indeed, many of our mystical-poetic impulses are similar, though our lives are nothing alike.)

It isn't that I believe I am folded (or lying), it is that the desire to be transparent, to be completely open to the world, to g-d and all that is, is very much one of my impulses. I live my life out loud: transparent and open. Unfolding.

And that I know I am always unfolding, because change is one of the only constants in life.

The difference between unfolded and unfolding: vast.

And yet the end result is the same. But the larger truth is, there is never going to be an end result.

I am unfolding.

Oh. Yes.


This is an unfolding year, indeed.

* One of Amy's many beautiful offerings is her 2015 My Word Goddess Reading where she can hook you up with a guiding Goddess of the year and will suggest a few possibilities for your word of the year. I did not use her reading to get to my own word of the year, but I am absolutely sure that if it calls to you, it would be just what is needed.

Also, you will love Amy's poetry. Here is a link to her newest book, Hymns to the Bliss Body.

(Neither of those links is an affiliate link. Amy is a FB/ instagram friend of mine and I think her work is amazeballs.)

* You can read the entire poem in its original German here, with a fairly literal translation into English just under it.

Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy's more poetic translation, which Amy shared with me, is in this book: Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God. It can also be found here, on Goodreads.

Translation is an art form, truly. I like having access to both literal translations and poetic interpretations when I read poems in languages other than English. And I also like to have the original, especially in languages I sort of speak, like German.

The book of Rilke's poems that I own is this bilingual edition: The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke (English and German Edition). It does not contain this poem.

I am not aware of a bilingual edition of Rilke's collected works (it would be huge if it existed - the German edition of his collected works is six volumes).

(The Amazon links are affiliate links. If you buy anything after clicking the link, I get a small percentage. It does not cost you extra, it just earns me a tiny cut of amazon's profit. Thank you!)