"Widening Circles" by Rainer Maria Rilke

translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows


I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

Book of Hours, I 2

In her conversation with Krista Tippett, Joanna Macy tells how this poem exemplified a way she could continue on a spiritual path while having misgivings about the Church fathers and arcane theological arguments.

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