We All Are Falling

Hans Anderson Brendekilde

Hans Anderson Brendekilde, “A Walk in Autumn”

Spiritual Sunday

My friend Sue Schmidt has turned me on to the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. Here’s a good seasonal poem that begins with death and loneliness but ends with an important reminder:


The leaves are falling, falling as from way off,
as though far gardens withered in the skies;
they are falling with denying gestures.

And in the night the heavy earth is falling
from all the stars down into loneliness.

We all are falling. This hand falls.
And look at others: it is in them all.

And yet there is one who holds this falling
endlessly gently in his hands.

From Translations from the Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by M.D. Herter Norton

Aletheia Schmidt’s painting below, with its autumnal colors and glimpse of celestial blue, captures the spirit of Rilke’s poem. Aletheia’s website can be found at www.accordingtoaletheia.com.

Aletheia Schmidt, "Surrender"

Aletheia Schmidt, “Surrender”

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  • Barbara

    Lovely! Thank you Robin and Sue!

  • sue

    Happy to be reminded of this poem, Robin. My daughter, Aletheia, who is an artist, has a piece entitled Surrender, which I have on my entry wall for the fall, the colors echo those autumn leaves. How wonderful to be reminded that we do not fall into oblivion, but into love.

  • Virginia

    I like the poem and the painting too. A suggestion: an important and magical author is missing in the list( well, that is my thought) JULIO CORTAZAR.
    Thanks for your page , it’s a pleasure to find people who enjoy literature as much as I do. I owned a bookstore, a dream that ended years ago. Sharing books is a way of being in contact with them


  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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