Rilke suggested we live the questions now and someday we might live our way into the answers. This poem raises the question about what he meant by the Machine. He capitalized it suggesting it has been given a privileged place in the world.
Does the Machine eat away at our humanness and humanity? Mindfulness allows us to be present, living in the moment, and possibly living our way to answers. Perhaps, this gives us our humanness and humanity even when we do not have the words to express the mystery involved.
The Machine endangers all we have made.
We allow it to rule instead of obey.
To build a house, cut the stone sharp and fast:
the carver’s hand takes too long to feel its way.
The Machine never hesitates, or we might escape
and its factories subside into silence.
It thinks it’s alive and does everything better.
With equal resolve it creates and destroys.
But life holds mystery for us yet. In a hundred places
we can still sense the source: a play of pure powers
that — when you feel it — brings you to your knees.
There are yet words that come near the unsayable,
and, from crumbling stones, a new music
to make a sacred dwelling in a place we cannot own.