The Ill-Matched Threads

She who reconciles the ill-matched threads
of her life, and weaves them gratefully
into a single cloth—
it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall
and clears it for a different celebration.

Where the one guest is You.
In the softness of evening
it’s You she receives.

You are the partner of her loneliness,
the unspeaking center of her monologues.
With each disclosure You encompass more
and she stretches beyond what limits her,
to hold You.


This poem, written by Rainer Maria Rilke, comes from his Book of Hours. The collection of poems are spontaneous prayers Rilke wrote after he encountered a different spirituality during his time in Russia. They are described by some as love poems to God. The title of this one is Wer seines Lebens viele Widersinne, which is translated by Google as Who of his life many nonsenses.

This translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows stirred my soul the first time I read it and brightens it still.

My spiritual director shared it with me. Perhaps because she sees that I’m weaving together the ill-matched threads, painfully slow at times, but weaving nonetheless. She knew I could use the encouragement.

I think the Spirit delights in my weaving and my driving out the loudmouths and my making way for a different celebration. But I don’t do it alone. All the people, the ones here now, the ones from long ago …those who shared decades with me and those who shared short seasons, the ones who come in and out, who I don’t see often enough or haven’t connected with in years. The ones I saw yesterday and the ones I’ll see tomorrow.

Those who love me and loved me, who knew me and know me. Those who forgive me and those who hurt me. You’re all part of the cloth I weave.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

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1 Comment

  1. Dyann Shepard on September 6, 2022 at 11:12 am

    Beautiful

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