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.
I love this little Rilke poem about autumn- for the unique and fresh vision of the poet. The poet is not writing a usual nature poem about autumn but much beyond it.
The leaves are not of terrestrial space but of trees in the higher space, where orchards are dying, each leaf falling as if motioning “no”. Each leaf is dissolution,a reluctant life dying,its fall signifying a refusal to tear away from the fabric of life. Whatever is falling is no golden harvest of autumn leaves to make way for new green leaves.Autumn is no celebration but a death.
From the leaves of the space the poet moves on to the larger cosmic stage of the earth falling from the space of the stars in its astral loneliness. And when the earth falls we all fall including the poet and the his this hand that is pointing at the stars and the earth falling. The grand spectacle of fall is here seen in the way the poet’s hand falls from whatever it is supporting, the life of the body it is supporting.
The last lines are of unsurpassed beauty and so musical too.Please sing aloud the song of Rilke’s magical tribute to the Creator whose hands are “holding all this up” from falling:
And yet there is Someone,whose hands
Infinitely calm,holding up all this falling
Someone is with a Big capital “S”
His hands are infinitely calm
He is holding up all this falling
Contrast falling hands of the poet to His holding hands, calm hands
Look at the other one, its is in them all, in the fallen things.