Falling into Fall


The Holy Longing

Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
because the mass man will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.
In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you,
when you see the silent candle burning.
Now you are no longer caught in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love-making sweeps you upward.
Distance does not make you falter.
Now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.
And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.

Johann W. Von Goethe
translated by Robert Bly
with thanks to Ruby Sara for posting it
for fall

Photo above from the Santa Cruz Mountains, a retreat center I go to twice a year with a circle of women; just returned; spring and fall, fall, fall, fly . . .

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Julie ZS 09/29/2010, 8:27 pm

    what an evocative poem, that last line, ahhh so good!

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