Jun 13 2012

Rainer Maria Rilke – I find you, Lord, in all Things

Published by at 9:07 am under Poetry

I find you, Lord, in all Things and in all
by Rainer Maria Rilke

English version by Stephen Mitchell

I find you, Lord, in all Things and in all
my fellow creatures, pulsing with your life;
as a tiny seed you sleep in what is small
and in the vast you vastly yield yourself.

The wondrous game that power plays with Things
is to move in such submission through the world:
groping in roots and growing thick in trunks
and in treetops like a rising from the dead.

— from Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke, Translated by Stephen Mitchell


/ Photo by Ben Frdericson /

Some days a bit of Rilke just feels right…

and in the vast you vastly yield yourself.

Isn’t that a great line? But it’s not just a nice poetic turn of phrase. In the second verse Rilke is really saying something of deep insight about this:

The wondrous game that power plays with Things
is to move in such submission through the world…

The “power” he is talking about is obviously not power over; not the domination of the warlord or the predator. Following on his first verse, we can read power as the power of the Lord “in all Things.” It is the power of life itself, awareness, presence. The use of the word “power,” makes us question the assumptions of common language: Perhaps this is real power, rather than the fleeting hold of force and fear. How are life and presence the greater power…?

This real power plays a game in the world of things. It asserts its power through submission, rather than control. Like water, it yields and so finds its destination. It allows, and so fulfills its purpose. It is supremely humble, and so able to be humbly present everywhere, in all things, without prejudice or rejection. It rises from the lowest to the highest, vivifying everything it touches–

groping in roots and growing thick in trunks
and in treetops like a rising from the dead.

This power flowing through us and all our “fellow creatures” binds us all with the same life. You’ll notice, it is not even our life at all. Rilke says “your life,” the Lord’s life. It is something we participate in, a current we ride as it flows through us and the world, but it is not our own. Rilke is hinting at a larger vision in which there is only one Life flowing through a million “Things.”

Hildegard von Bingen, the great medieval mystic, called this the Viriditas or Greening power of God.

Too much of our relationship with the natural world is built on ideas of separation and domination. Such foolishness can only ever harm us. When we see clearly, we see as Rilke does that we are part of the same shared Life. To harm the natural world is to rebel against God. Is that language too religiously loaded? Reread Rilke’s poem, and then think about it.

Have a lovely day in this lovely green world!






Rainer Maria Rilke, Rainer Maria Rilke poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Rainer Maria Rilke

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Secular or Eclectic

More poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Rainer Maria Rilke – I find you, Lord, in all Things”

  1. Lanaon 13 Jun 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Ivan, thank you for sharing this. Most inspiring.

  2. maria robsonon 13 Jun 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Felicitations! Congratulations, Ivan, on the publication of Real Thirst.

    The wind is welcomed back in my city today, breaking a sticky heat spell.
    I look up at the wind in the treetops……and Rilke’s quietly holy & elegant poem comes more alive in the green toss of leaves.

    An elegant choice. Merci!

  3. Beth Feckteron 13 Jun 2012 at 6:25 pm

    The new format leaves your comments hard for me to read because the font size is smaller and lighter black than it was before. I wish a change would be made for the bette.

  4. bharation 13 Jun 2012 at 11:24 pm

    quite apart from the beautiful selection of poetry is Ivan’s powerful submission to the deeper meanings, giving a commentary that adds, not diminishes. Commentaries can reduce a poem to dry grit

    congratulations on your first baby in form of a book

    BTW i agree with Beth about the font size and type being hard on the eyes… and too many words per line further disrupts smooth reading.

  5. nasihaon 13 Jun 2012 at 11:40 pm

    thank you Ivan, and just wanted to congratulate on your new book, best wishes!

  6. Ivan M. Grangeron 14 Jun 2012 at 7:55 am

    Thanks, Beth and Bharati, for the feedback about the new email format. I do depend on everyone’s input with these sorts of changes. I’ll experiment with a larger font for Friday’s email. Let me know what you think… -Ivan