If you were a child in a happy flock
How could you possibly understand
How it was that I grew to hate the day,
A constant hostile danger,
And felt abandoned: a stranger.
Only perhaps on some night in May,
With the scents of Spring, would I be
By day imprisoned by the tight ring
Of cowardly duty, devotedly performed;
Escaping in the evenings, not hearing
The sound of a tiny window opening
And a butterfly taking my longing
On a silent voyage to the stars to ask:
Where is my home?
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
So many fortunate people were raised “in a happy flock.” I often think about how different they are from those who were raised with the constant threat of the wolf because they lacked shepherding, or perhaps were even raised by wolves.
Rilke’s poem so beautifully expresses how difficult it is to be happy or content as a state of mind when one’s soul was schooled in loneliness, anxiety, and abandonment. With such a history, a person has to work to establish and maintain an inner hearth offering nurture and warmth.
We are always seeking home.
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