Life Being Lived

From The Book of Hours II, 12
by Rainer Maria Rilke, from A Year with Rilke, translations by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

And yet, though we strain
against the deadening grip
of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:

All life is being lived.

Who is living it, then?
Is it the things themselves,
or something waiting inside them,
like an unplayed melody in a flute?

Is it the winds blowing over the waters?
Is it the branches that signal to each other?

Is it flowers
interweaving their fragrances,
or streets, as they wind through time?

Is it animals, warmly moving,
or the birds, that suddenly rise up?

Who lives it, then? God, are you the one
who is living life?


Rilke, R. M., Barrows, A., & Macy, J. (2009). A year with Rilke: Daily readings from the best of Rainer Maria Rilke. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. (library)

"Joanna Macy: A Wild Love for the World," On Being, November 1, 2012