A Softness Touching the Earth

Japan has been on all our minds and in all our hearts. There doesn’t seem to be enough capacity in the human soul to witness nature unleash its force on man in this way. Helplessness still sits with us even after the contributing of funds to relief efforts.

The magnitude of the disaster and continuing saga has made us all feel vulnerable to the uncertainty of life. We can’t fathom how recovery can possibly follow such devastation.

Then there’s me here in my studio just painting clouds and wondering how what I do could possibly matter. And then today I happened upon this Rilke poem after I finished the painting shown above. And the words could not be more profound and with them my painting feels right again.

Threshold of Spring
Harshness gone. All at once caring spread over
the naked gray of the meadows.
Tiny rivulets sing in different voices.
A softness, as if from everywhere,

is touching the earth.
Paths appear across the land and beckon.
Surprised once again you sense
its coming in the empty tree.

—from “A Year With Rilke: Daily Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke” (translated and edited by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

Sharon KingstonSharon Kingston is an oil painter of invented and imagined spaces infused with metaphor and poetry. Her most recent paintings, the Reading Rilke series, have been inspired by the writings and poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.

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Share Your Reflection



A gorgeous painting, Sharon. I also have been to your site and will return.

Thank you, Maureen.

thank you for the tenderness...

Both the painting and the poem are absolutely beautiful.

Thank you for this rising star of hope that you bring to us. May it continue to bless us and all of Japan. ~liz Wessel

Sharon, it seems that we are all 'one' now - connected through this web - you're paintings with poetry provide a fuller dimension of expression that is most pleasing to both the eye and the soul. As a composer, one of my first works was based on Rilke's poem (Growing Orbits, translated by Bly, found at www.sacredvoice.com). Perhaps we are all awakening to discover the need to be connected to one another as we share this one 'home' together. Blessings on all you do. Tom

Tom, I so agree. The connectedness we now share--our access to information and thoughts--are all great facilitators for creative thinking across disciplines and geography. I look forward to listening to your music.

That poem really does raise hope, like the image of the calm and clean look after a storm. If we're all safe, we venture out, neighbor helping neighbor. We become community, and it is beautiful - like your painting.

Thank you, Mary. Hope and renewal from a community of voices.

The predominant world view believes in, even worships, control. To be reminded of the impersonal, unable-to-be-controlled forces that surround us threatens us in every way. Mostly this reality is felt as only theoretical possibility. When we witness them unleashed it is more than structures and lives that are lost. Donations to the Red Cross can't heal this rift in our sense of well being. Maybe recognition of the larger natural cycles into which earthquakes and tsunamis area part can.

Thank you - with tenderness in all things. Hope I might share a link here . . .


many blessings . . .

Nice work as usual Sharon

I have a sister-in-law who is an alcoholic. She hasn't worked for ten years enabled financially by her parents. Friday afternoon she proclaimed to her sister, via phone, that she was an alcoholic. She lives in North Carolina. We live in Texas. Saturday morning my wife and another sister-in-law boarded a plane to NC. This morning I stumbled across you and Rilke and sent the poem to my alcoholic sister-in-law...ain't life beautiful!

Oh nice, thanks for your