(My dear friend Stephanie, who lives now in Sierra Leone, has this posted on her blog site and I loved it the first time I read it and I love it today. It reminds me of so many things and Rilke just wows me. Read Letters to a Young Poet if you want more of him.)
Dove the Ventured Outside
(To Erika, for the festival of praise)
Dove that ventured outside, flying far from the dovecote:
housed and protected again, one with the day, the night,
knows what serenity is, for she has felt her wings
pass through all distance and fear in the course of her wanderings.
The doves that remained at home, never exposed to loss,
innocent and secure, cannot know tenderness;
only the won-back heart can ever be satisfied: free,
through all it has given up, to rejoice in its mastery.
Being arches itself over the vast abyss.
Ah the ball that we dared, that we hurled into infinite space,
doesn’t it fill our hands differently with its return:
heavier by the weight of where it has been.