Friday, December 03, 2010



As the climate talks in Cancún get rolling toward more widely expected avoidance, delay and posturing,  a sonnet from Rainer Maria Rilke, whose brief life (1875-1926) spanned one of the great surges in the fossil-fueled industrial revolution of the Western developing nations, seems quite on-target.

The Machine endangers all we have made.
We allow it to rule instead of obey.
To build a house, cut the stone sharp and fast:
the carver's hand takes too long to feel its way.

The Machine never hesitates, or we might escape
and its factories subside into silence.
It thinks it's alive and does everything better.
With equal resolve it creates and destroys.

But life holds mystery for us yet.  In a hundred places
we can still sense the source: a play of pure powers
that - when you feel it - brings you to your knees.

There are yet words that come near the unsayable,
and, from crumbling stones, a new music
to make a sacred dwelling in a place we cannot own.

                                                                         ~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

Photo and poem are from Panhala

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