Vandana Shiva, environmental activist and food sovereignity advocate, gives voice to Rilke’s poem in our animated short film. Thanks Vandana!

“Dear Darkening Ground”

A poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, read by Vandana Shiva, collectively animated by @the.impossible.future & presented by Daniel Wahl

The first time I heard Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem ‘Du Dunkelnder Grund’ was when I co-facilitated a training for educators in ‘The Work That Reconnects’ with Joanna Macy in the mountains North of Madrid in 2003.

Dear darkening ground,
you’ve endured so patiently the walls we’ve built,

please give the cities one more hour
and grant the churches and cloisters two,

And those that labor — maybe you’ll let their work
grip them for another five hours, or seven

before you become forest again, and water,
and widening wilderness,
in that hour of inconceivable terror
when you take back your name from all things.

Just give me a little more time.

I just need a little more time,
because I am going to Love the things
as no one has thought to love them,

until they’re real and worthy of you.

-Reiner Maria Rilke (Translation Joanna Macy)

The powerful lines “before you become forest again, and water and widening wilderness, in that hour of inconceivable terror when you take back your names from all things”.

“Oh, what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made personal, merely personal feeling. This is what is the matter with us: we are bleeding at the roots because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars. Love has become a grinning mockery because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the Tree of Life and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table.”

- D. H. Lawrence

I believe that Rilke’s poem is prophetic with regard to why he is asking for “a little more time. Just give me a little more time.” He is asking for more time to enter into a deep relationship of care “so I may love the things until they are real, and ripe and worthy of you.” To me this speaks of the story of interbeing, of — as the great poet Mary Oliver called it: “coming home into the family of things” — the family of life.

Catalysing transformative innovation, cultural co-creation, whole systems design, and bioregional regeneration. Author of Designing Regenerative Cultures