04 April 2008

The Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke


After a recent falling in love with the Duino Elegies, one would hope that his sonnets to Orpheus, written during the same time period as half of the elegies, would be as wonderfully insightful. To me, they are not. The only sonnets I kinda liked, that perhaps resemble the elegies a little are:

Be ahead of all parting, as if it were
behind you, like the winter you just weathered.
Because among the winters there is one so endless winter,
that, overwintering it, your heart recovers altogether.

How we are gripped by a bird's cry ...
any uniquely-created cry.
But the children, playing under open skies,
already cry beyond actual cries.

Cry the accident. Into holes
of this, of space (in which the whole
bird cry is received, like men in dreams -),
they drive the wedges of their screams.

Alas, where are we? Free, like kites
ripped loose from their moorings,
laughter-edged, we race half-height,

tattered by wind. -Arrange the criers,
singing god! to awaken roaring,
bearing like torrent the head and the lyre.

The whole thing can be found here.