'we could rise up rooted, like trees.'


How Surely Gravity's Law

by Rainer Maria Rilke 


How Surely Gravity's Law

How surely gravity’s law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of 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 him.

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.

by Rainer Maria Rilke


Poem as Friend to Lisa

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How Surely Gravity's Lawby Rainer Maria Rilke

In this episode you will hear Lisa talking about the poem that has been a friend to her - 'How Surely Gravity's Law' by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Lisa visited us at John Ryland's Library in Manchester and is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members Fiona Bennett and Michael Schaeffer.

'How Surely Gravity's Law' is read by Fiona Bennett.


We talk to people about the poem that has been a friend to them.

In exchange we create a gift for them, a bespoke reading of their chosen poem inspired by the conversation. Our award-winning podcast shares these unique and powerful stories of connection with people across the world. 


We set up an intimate environment for these conversations at festivals, in arts, cultural and public spaces across the country. We also hold exchanges ‘long distance’. Our visitors come from all walks of life and we also feature well-known personalities such as Andrew Scott, Maxine Peake, Roy McFarlane and Paterson Joseph.