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Common Ground Keeps Me Grounded

Common Ground Keeps Me Grounded

By: John Parsons

I can find myself wound up in politics, local, national and global issues, or why instant replay doesn’t always get it right or who will win The Voice. Then I see a child walk at the beach, or hold a baby and the realness of everyday existence hits me. The children that Common Ground supports teach us that love is our strength, our gravity and our gift to each other. My gift to you now is to share a poem.

Rise Up Like Rooted Trees
By Rainer Maria Rilke

How surely gravity’s law,
strong as an ocean current,

takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing—

each stone, blossom, child—
is held in place.
 Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to
for some empty freedom.
If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God’s heart;
they have never left [God].

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
 before he can fly.


Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy (Riverhead Books: 1996), 116-117.

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