A poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, read by Vandana Shiva, collectively animated by @the.impossible.future and presented by Daniel Wahl
The first time I heard Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem ‘Du Dunkelnder Grund’ was when I co-facilitated a training for educators in ‘The Work That Reconnects’ with Joanna Macy in the mountains North of Madrid in 2003.
In her early career, Joanna had translated Rilke’s ‘Book of Hours’ into English. During the training Joanna shared this remarkable poem in her own voice which has the resonant vibrational quality of a true Dharma teacher. I still remember how Rilke’s lines struck me.
Ever since, this poem has been with me, like a prayer. I have sat in many council circles and participated in many ceremonies, during which – out of silence and as if requested by the Earth herself – I felt moved to share this poem.
Dear darkening ground,
you’ve endured so patiently the walls we’ve built,
please give the cities one more hour
and grant the churches and cloisters two,
And those that labor —maybe you’ll let their work
grip them for another five hours, or seven
before you become forest again, and water,
and widening wilderness,
in that hour of inconceivable terror
when you take back your name from all things.
Just give me a little more time.
I just need a little more time,
because I am going to Love the things
as no one has thought to love them,
until they’re real and worthy of you.
The powerful lines “before you become forest again, and water and widening wilderness, in that hour of inconceivable terror when you take back your names from all things”.
Rather than filling me with fear, this image leaves me with a sense of trust in life’s inherent capacity and potential for regeneration.
I believe that Rilke’s poem is prophetic with regard to why he is asking for “a little more time. Just give me a little more time.” He is asking for more time to enter into a deep relationship of care “so I may love the things until they are real, and ripe and worthy of you.” To me this speaks of the story of interbeing, of – as the great poet Mary Oliver called it: “coming home into the family of things” – the family of life.
During the above mentioned training with Joanna Macy she also told me: “Daniel, always remember when you are teaching or you are stepping on a stage to give a talk, as an expression of life, you have the authority of 3.8 billion years of life’s evolution from which to speak. Speak for the voiceless and for all of life!” The strength of Rilke’s poetry is that he understood himself as a vessel through which life herself could do the writing.
“Dear darkening ground”
Voice: VANDANA SHIVA | Directors: TONI BALSEIRO, MARTIN HAAS | Production: BÁRBARA TERASANI, FELICITAS SOLDI | Animators: ALEJANDRO LIBONATTI, BAUTISTA GOITY, DANIELA GAUDIOSO, GABINO CALÓNICO, IGNACIO SANTONJA, LUCIA CHANLLIO, MAILÉN BRITEZ, MARI CARRANZA, NAHUEL ZABALZA, RAÚL AVILA GUERRERO, ROBERTO SEGOND, RODRIGO CABRAL, MARIO BERTAZZO, GERMÁN KATZ, MAXIMILIANO TABARES, HARRISON WILLIAMS, ORNELA VICENTINI | Pots-production lead & color: HUMBERTO PAYTUVI / PIMBA VFX | Compositors: ANA BOUR, VENJAMIN VILLALOBOS, DANIEL DI PAOLA, HUMBERTO PAYTUVI, SANTIAGO GUERRERO, SASCHA BONANNO, VANESA IASSOGNA, FERNANDO JERSON, ELEAZAR H. FIGUEROA E., HARRISON WILLIAMS, BORJA HUERTAS, THOMAS XAVIER ROGER | Translation: EMIKO NAKAMURA, ROMINA PAULA, VICTORIA LIENDO | Piano: NACHO ABAD | Strings and winds: MUHAMMAD HABIBI | Music & sound design: AHRE STUDIO + MIL CABLES | Mix: MIL CABLES | Editing: EMILIANO FARDAUS
With the support of: