I return periodically to David Whyte’s discussion of Rilke’s poem, The Swan. Both the poem and Whyte’s commentary come close to the heart of this time of creative reflection and exploration we are having this Summer.
This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.
And to die, which is the letting go
of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
is like the swan, when he nervously lets himself down
into the water, which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown,
more like a king, further and further on.
He ends with Derek Walcott’s Love After Love. More on that another day.