“The rain water drips through a crack in the ceiling…”

Every day, tour groups at the National Cathedral strain to see the grotesque of a certain famously evil pop-culture character, but they never notice the charming raccoon with whom he shares a buttress gablet. On rainy days like today, the raccoon deals with this recurring slight as any sensible creature would: by translating Rilke. (The original German poem is here.)


Solitude is like the rain.
Along toward evening, rising up again
it slips the sea above the farther plain
to heaven, where it always rains, then down
from heaven falls alone upon the town.

Then down it rains in hours queerly cast,
when alleys turn to face the looming day,
when bodies, finding nothing, have at last
from one another glumly turned away,
and when, in their despite, two lives must stay
and side by side in one shared bed repose:

then solitude into the rivers flows…

(For all the entries in this series, hit the “looking up” tab, or read the gargoyle FAQ.)

3 thoughts on ““The rain water drips through a crack in the ceiling…”

  1. No. If this series has shown visitors that there’s something worth looking at on the cathedral other than Vader, then I’ve accomplished something. 🙂


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