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

R. L. Boyer
BIRTH AGONIES

 

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

 

 

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.

 

            Listen!

 

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.)

 

            Listen!

 

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?

 

            Listen!

 

In quiet hours, unspoken thoughts of

you rise in me like a shout!

 


 

ARE YOU STILL ASLEEP?

 

 

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.


BEGINNING TO KNOW YOU

 

                                                           

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.

 


 

COOING OF DOVES

 

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.

***

 

BIO

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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