“The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”
And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.
We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It’s in them all.
And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.”
For reflection in silence or in the company of others: What feelings come to you as you consider the wealth of images — explicit and implicit — Rilke calls to mind with his use of the word “falling”? If it feels right to you, try using paint, colored pencils, or other creative materials to craft your responses. As you ponder the last two lines, pray any prayer you feel rising in your heart.