Book Review: Rilke’s Book of Hours

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) – It Completes Me!

This was a reread for me and one that I took on a silent retreat along with only two other books, giving me time and the patience to absorb, dwell and linger in Rilke’s words.  

My review from three years ago read, “I think I could read Rilke’s poems every day of my life and never get bored.  This second time through, I read them while on an eight day silent retreat and what surprised me is how the ones I had marked from my first reading in 2016 were not the one’s which captured my imagination, emotion and heart this time around. 

Poetry can do that and Rilke’s love poems to God simply enter into the spaces surrounding my being and allow me to swim around in them for a while with him.  Often it’s not even a whole poem, but just a couple lines or a stanza like:

I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed, I am false.
I want to stay clear in your sight. (I,13)

Just a stanza from that poem but it pulls at a fiber deep in my being that I just have to let the words resonate. Basically, I love this book and I think I will always gravitate towards Rilke’s poems in my spiritual life.”

Three years later in June of 2022 the assessment remains the same. So many of Rilke’s descriptions offered a space of welcome and healing throughout my retreat and into my daily spiritual life.  This time around it was his poetry around darkness that soothed my soul: 

My God is dark
And like a web; a hundred roots
Silently drinking.
This is the ferment I grow out of. (I, …)

Happy Reading!

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