“The Guardian Angel” by R.M. Rilke

“You are the bird whose wings came

when I wakened in the night and called.

Only with my arms I called, because your name

is like a chasm, a thousand nights deep.

You are the shadows in which I quietly slept,

and your seed devised in me each dream,—

you are the image, but I am the frame

that makes you stand in glittering relief.

 

What shall I call you? Look, my lips are lame.

You are the beginning that gushes forth,

I am the slow and fearful Amen

that timidly concludes your beauty.

 

You have often snatched me out of dark rest

when sleep seemed like a grave to me

and like getting lost and fleeing,—

then you raised me out of heart-darknesses

and tried to hoist me onto all towers

like scarlet flags and bunting.

 

You: who talk of miracles as of common knowledge

and of men and women as of melodies

and of roses: of events

that in your eyes blazingly take place,—

you blessed one, when will you at last name Him

from whose seventh and last day

shards of glory can still be found

on the beating of your wings …

Do I need to ask?”

Translated by Edward Snow, found in R.M. Rilke, “The Book of Images”, Kindle edition

Leonardo da Vinci, detail from “Madonna of the Rocks”

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7 Responses to “The Guardian Angel” by R.M. Rilke

  1. Dewin Nefol says:

    Hey Monika,

    How are you? Hoping all is well and you basking in your garden like a summer’s rose.

    The poem is delicious Monika: my mind transported to a high tower and a bower radiant in the golden glow of angelic spirit .

    All lines written are favourites, but the following paused me longest in thought.

    ‘I am the slow and fearful Amen
    that timidly concludes your beauty.’

    A beautiful poem to start the new week with ‘the beginning that gushes forth.’ 🙂

    Thank you Monika…a timely post I think, and one building nicely upon Osiris, Master of Silence and Renewal 😉 Fascinating.

    Enjoy the beauty of another new week. Take care in all ways always.

    Namaste 🙂

    DN

    • Yes, this poem is unbelievably wonderful. If I were to pick a line, then perhaps it would be this one: “you are the image, but I am the frame that makes you stand in glittering relief…”
      Here summer is over and so is all the basking but I am already looking forward to my favourite season when “the leaves fall, fall as from far, like distant gardens withered in the heavens” (Rilke, “Autumn”)
      All the best to you
      Monika

  2. ‘ I do think that many mysteries ascribed to our own inventions, have been the courteous revelations of Spirits; for those noble essences in heaven bear a friendly regard unto their fellow-natures on earth; ……. Therefore for Spirits I am so far from denying their existence, that I could easily believe, that not only whole Countries, but particular persons have their Tutelary, and Guardian Angels…I believe they have an extemporary knowledge, and upon the first motion of their reason do what we cannot without study or deliberation. ‘
    – Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici 1:31 and 33

  3. Jeff Japp says:

    Nice. You often remind me that I should read more Rilke. Hope you are doing well. I just got back from Spain. Was muy bien. Cheers!

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