You darkness from which I come,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence out the world,
for the fire makes a circle
so that no one sees you anymore.
But darkness holds it all:
the shape and the flame,
the animal and myself,
how it holds them,
all powers, all sight —
and it is possible: its great strength
is breaking into my body.
I have faith in the night.
Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by David Whyte
This gem came within an email this week where, in the Northern Hemisphere, various divinations by animals foretold of six more weeks of winter. Despite daylight hours growing, this pronouncement still means many more hours of darkness.
I imagine that to “have faith in the night” that we will awaken come dawn, might have been one of those experiences that filled with awe our earliest ancestors.
This photo, taken my first night on Morocco’s Sahara, could be the sun rising. Life’s circles and cycles, as too this week, Imbolc, the Celtic celebration of the first glimmering of spring, falling midway between Winter’s Solstice and Spring’s Equinox. Also, the feast day of Brigid, the patron saint of, among many things, poetry.
Speaking of which, Whyte’s translation of this piece from Rilke evokes his own much loved poem, Sweet Darkness, read here by him.