Selected Poems

Selected Poems

by Sean Nevin

A poem with seven parts. We excerpted a portion of part IV for the end of the program — and included the poem in it entirety online.

In his essay, Le Pichon explores some of the observations he's made in anthropological and historical perspective, and reflects on the radical advance in human self-understanding in what we call the Axial Age. Read the text or download a PDF!

by Sully Prudhomme

Le Pichon describes how his mother taught him a version of this lovely poem. So, we commissioned a new English translation for you, and asked a Québécois poet to recite the poem in French and English. Listen along, and compare to Le Pichon's memorized version.

In this poem Rilke is using images from the natural world, Ms. Macy says, to convey that mystery, beauty, and relationship in the sacred. Listen to her recitation and deeper explanation of this lyrical piece.

In their conversation, Krista recites a line by Rilke in which she says she found resolve while creating this radio program. Ms. Macy reads this popular piece, which she says has become "theme song of the deep ecology movement."

From his last "Sonnet to Orpheus," Joanna Macy tells us that Rilke has chosen to be with the darkness rather than hide from it. And she shares how she finds resonance with our relationship to our planet.

Rilke in many of his early poems is "consoling God" says Joanna Macy. And, for her, this poem tells her that "it's okay not to be optimistic or full of hope," but that the main thing is to show up and be present.

While mourning the death of her husband, Joanna Macy felt like she was "dipped in beauty" while translating A Year with Rilke. Here's a passage from a letter the poet wrote to Countess Margot Sizzo-Noris-Crouty in 1924 in which she took comfort in her own grief and loss.

For Ms. Joanna Macy, this poem exemplifies a way she could continue on a spiritual path while having misgivings about the Church fathers and arcane theological arguments.

In her book A Year with Rilke, Joanna Macy chose one poem by Rilke for each day of the year. We interviewed her on July 13th, for which this poem "about death and how not to be afraid of death" was selected. A marvelous reading with a humorous anecdote about her deceased husband at the end.

Photo credit: Linda Colquhoun