I love all types of writing, but when it comes to the type of writing that inspires me the most, I find that the words that inspire and move me the most are almost always founds in poems. Sadly, I don’t considerate myself to be a very skilled poet, though I do write poems from time to time. Perhaps, that is why I love and admire poets so much.
Poets understand rhythm and nature in a way that most of us cannot feel. According to more and more scientists, when we look for what creates life we find it is rhythm. It’s no wonder that poets have been important since the dawn of history.
It occurred to me today that I haven’t written about one of my favorite poets, Rainer Marie Rilke, at least at much length. It is from Rilke that I found words for my spirit that loves the questions in his Letters to a Young Poet which actually feels to me as though I am reading poetry every time I read the letters Roger Housden includes a wonderful Rilke poem (Sunset) in his book ten poems to last a lifetime. I don’t always understand Rilke but every time I read or speak aloud his poems, I get the feeling he is one who “knows”.
Today, I offer a brief excerpt from Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus:
O you tender ones, every now and then
step into breath that doesn’t notice you;
let it touch your cheeks, divide in two;
behind you it will tremble together again.
O you who are blessed, you who are whole,
you who seem to be the beginning of hearts,
bows for the arrows, and the arrows’ targets,
only tear-glazed will your smile forever glow.
Don’t be afraid to suffer, replace
the heaviness back on the earth’s own weight:
the mountains are heavy, so are the seas.
You couldn’t support even the trees
you planted as children, they’ve grown so great.
Ah, but the breezes . . . ah,, but the spaces . . .
This is a translation by A. Poulin Jr. from his book, Rainer Marie Rilke, Duino Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus if you would like to read more. If you haven’t read Rilke before, can you feel the depths from which he wrote? Apparently, Rilke was a friend of Rodin, and there are stories that it was Rodin who taught Rilke how to see the world as an artist.
Who taught you to see the world as you do?
- Rilke’s Roses (visionsofapollo.wordpress.com)
- The Future of Antithologies and the Joris Example (skylightpress.wordpress.com)
- Rilke, on how to avoid writing “toward the median” (donnalewiscowan.wordpress.com)
- Rilke, Buddhism, and Transforming Dietetics (longingforrecognition.wordpress.com)
- one of my favorites: rilke (literaryitinerary.wordpress.com)