This is one of my favorite Rilke poems, and the translation by Joanna Macy is especially wonderful:
This translation was featured in a recent OnBeing episode, a long and illuminating conversation between host Krista Tippett (author of the great recent release, Becoming Wise) and Macy.
As I listened to their conversation, I was transported back to the retreat I attended with Joanna a couple of years ago, where I began to learn that full-fledged joy requires us to also tiptoe towards our own grief. Ooof. That’s when the notion of widening circles first pulled me in.
In these times when so much seems divided and silo-ed, both within and without, this image from Rilke (and from Macy) brings both comfort and inspiration. May we all live our lives in widening circles, reconnecting the elements we’ve falsely held apart.