With the poem the poets barter their way into eternity, and that is all the poets have ever done, consciously or not. But then again, eternity is the intuition for which the poem is the medium and conductor, the activity through which eternity expands inside the poet’s heart. So a moment comes where every poet wonders if the poem is in fact more than a poem, a poetry that goes beyond poetry and overflows into life, under and inside the very marrow of life. The poet intuits eternity as a force of life, or, rather, life as an expression of eternity. The poet, then, driven as if by instinct, wants his life lived in harmony with the eternal, as he begins to experience the true opening of the heart. His relationship with life or what life is for him must now come from his openness to eternity, from his intuition of the absolute. He wants to live the eternal as he relates to life. He glorifies being inasmuch as he feels that that is a state of flowering inside the eternal; being, for him, is a state of absolute openness, of total transparency and a life taken over by the eternal. So the images come of the moth and the flame, of the whirling dervish, the ocean, and the boundless sky, and underneath it all, the silence of God, the eternal.
There is no life after death, but there is an eternity. Being rooted in it it no longer matters if there is a life after death — or, said from the opposite bank, death achieves its purpose and opens us to eternity, not to an afterlife, but to a here-and-now eternity. Death itself becomes its white flower, its most fragrant sigh, its sigh of overflowing gratitude.
What is eternity?—is it not this:
That I am alive, have lived, and death’s thumb
Will erase not one line that I have writ
Nor his nothingness wipe out my imprint.
I existed, I exist—this echo
Like thunder will ripple and roll through seas
Of life and death will never untangle
All the widening ripples of the I.
To have been once, to have been forever
So summon your life in her wild thunder
And sear your lifeline in blood and fire
On pages that never will fall to dust.
“For your sake poets sequester themselves,
gather images to churn the mind,
journey forth, ripening with metaphor,
and all their lives they are so alone…
And painters paint their pictures only
that the world, so transient as you made it,
can be given back to you,
to last forever.
All becomes eternal. See: In the Mona Lisa
some woman has long since ripened like wine,
and the enduring feminine is held there
through all the ages.
Those who create are like you.
They long for the eternal.
They say, Stone, be forever!
And that means: be yours.
And lovers also gather your inheritance.
They are the poets of one brief hour.
They kiss an expressionless mouth into a smile
as if creating it anew, more beautiful.
Awakening desire, they make a place
where pain can enter;
that’s how growing happens.
They bring suffering along with their laughter,
and longings that had slept and now awaken
to weep in a stranger’s arms.
They let the riddles pile up and then they die
the way animals die, without making sense of it.
But maybe in those who come after,
their green life will ripen;
it’s then that you will inherit the love
to which they gave themselves so blindly, as in a sleep.
Thus the overflow from things
pours into you.
Just as a fountain’s higher basins
spill down like strands of loosened hair
into the lowest vessel,
so streams the fullness into you,
when things and thoughts cannot contain it.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy
De la fontaine de ses yeux
jaillit le ciel bleu,
ombre de l’éternité