This poem makes me think of Shel Silverstein’s classic children’s book entitled “The Giving Tree.” In the story, a boy and a tree share a lovely relationship during the boy’s childhood, and when the boy grows into adulthood he asks and asks of the tree, who lovingly and willingly gives until it has nothing left to offer the ‘boy’ (by then an old man) except its stump on which the boy can sit and rest.
In this poem by Ranier Maria Rilke we are taken in a different direction with the idea of giving. He encourages us to live throughout the extent of our years with a spirit of generosity (throughout a long and uncomplaining life) with the simple goal of giving of ourselves…not unlike the tree in “The Giving Tree”. Dissimilar to the Giving Tree, however, Rilke opens the door of possibility to quiet growth and bearing of fruit as outcomes of our self-sharing. Quite a different vibe from the way things turn out in Silverstein’s tale.
Then again, maybe there was much fruit born of the Giving Tree’s experience of generosity. Maybe we overlook that as we see only what our eyes show us.
Perception is a powerful thing.
Hoping that you are well in all ways,