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”

This entry was posted in Rilke (Rainer Maria) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • 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.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

    Your email will not be shared or sold.
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!
  • Twitter Authentication data is incomplete