Last week was a hard week. I was broken in every way – unable to find patience for my children and understanding for my husband, unwilling to do the work in front of me given me to do. This week, I’ve gathered up the broken pieces of myself to start again. This poem has always helped me to gather all the bits of myself back together when I feel shattered by inadequacy. May it do the same for you.
The Book of Pilgrimage, 11.2
I am praying again, Awesome One.
Your hear me again, as words
from the depths of me
rush toward you in the wind.
I’ve been scattered in pieces,
torn by conflict,
mocked by laughter,
washed down in drink.
In alleyways I sweep myself up
out of garbage and broken glass.
With my half-mouth I stammer you,
who are eternal in your symmetry.
I lift to you my half-hands
in wordless beseeching, that I may find again
the eyes with which I once beheld you.
I am a house gutted by fire
where only the guilty sometimes sleep
before the punishment that devours them
hounds them out into the open.
I am a city by the sea
sinking into a toxic tide.
I am strange to myself, as though someone unknown
had poisoned my mother as she carried me.
It’s here in all the pieces of my shame
that now I find myself again.
I yearn to belong to something, to be contained
in an all-embracing mind that sees me
as a single thing.
I yearn to be held
in the great hands of your heart–
oh let them take me now.
Into them I place these fragments, my life,
and you, God–spend them however you want.
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Hours
translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy