Five Songs to God --for Rainer Maria Rilke - by R. L. Boyer

R. L. Boyer


you are stirring in

whispers like a


soft breath rustling of

leaves shifting of


lovers on beds of

raw silk soon you


will sound more like

thunder grumbling,


shouting above a

hard rain mountains


crumble in your

wake your power is


wonderful and my

thoughts are scattered


like clouds upon the

wind from the birth


agonies of eagles





In quiet hours, I have ears to

hear your silences. That's how I


know that you are calling me. And

how I recognize your voice when


I awaken. I can hear you

in the secret places of my


solitude. Your voice sounds like the

flapping of great wings. (But it changes


all the time). Sometimes, your voice

sounds like  the birth wails of infants.


Sometimes, like the angry beat of

war drums. It often sounds like the


chirping of songbirds. Or the loud,

hot clash and din of battle, tumult of


nations. Echoes in deep valleys. The

mournful cry of loons on a


northern lake. Sometimes, your voice rolls

over me, like waves of thunder.


Sometimes, like mountains shifting, or

the grinding of giant teeth. Your


voice sounds like Eternity.




Everything is singing out of

your vast silences. Infinite


worlds we know nothing of are

singing there! (But mostly, you speak


softly like the lonely hush of a

mountain wind wandering where it


will and singing through long pines.)




You often speak in whispers like the

dead. The strange thing is that you have


ears to hear me, too!. So, why can't

you hear me?




In quiet hours, unspoken thoughts of

you rise in me like a shout!






Old One, are you still

asleep? In my silence I

think I hear you, rocking

gently. I am often


saddened at your

loneliness. Sometimes, I

feel you bending down,

looking as if you've


lost something valuable.

That's when I feel afraid.

Here! Lend me your hand.

Doesn't that feel better


now? I am small, but far

from helpless. And in my

tiny hand your thick

finger feels like the branch


of an ancient tree. It feels

so heavy in my grip, and

rough, like the hand of a

workman, a master carver


in stone. But warm, too,

like the breast of a mother

bird. I grasp your finger,

tightly, growing calm, as


you are calm.




Grandfather, I think I am beginning to know you. For

Too many years you have spoken to me out of the                       


Whirlwind, driving me willy-nilly—a leaf in a cyclone. I

Guess that happens when you fall asleep and dream.  I


Lost faith in you then, thinking you had lost me. But we

Are both awake now—at the same time, for a change. 


So, let's be calm and walk together in our Garden, my tiny

Hand in yours, silence our only speech. Grandfather,


I think I am beginning to know you—now.





Tonight, the moon lies hidden in your shadow.

I am covered by your thick silence, like a shroud.


I can't see you, there in the darkness, but I feel you

Lean towards me, across great distances: reaching,


From beyond the stars, with wavelike hands of light.

Your hands are unspeakably tender as they gather me


Up—holding me close, nestled against your great heart:

The lonely heart of a mother. I feel safe here, now.


But it still seems so strange to me that my faint chirps

Are loud enough to actually move you. And your


Silence seems more like the cooing of doves.




R L. Boyer is an award-winning poet, fiction author, and screenwriter. His poems have been featured in Depth Insights, Mythic Circle, Poetry Zone, ReVision, and other publications. Boyer is a two-time award recipient of the Jefferson Scholarship and a two-time award winner in Literature from the John E. Profant Foundation for the Arts, including the McGuire Family Award for 1st place in Literature. He is a depth psychologist and current doctoral student in Art and Religion at the Graduate Theological Union and UC Berkeley.  

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