Thursday, December 8, 2011


Shaking all over, she arrives near the lamp, and her dizziness grants her one last vague reprieve before she goes up in flames.  She has fallen into the green tablecloth, and upon that advantageous background she stretches out for a moment (for a unit of her own time which we have no way of measuring) the profusion of her inconceivable splendor.  She looks like a miniature lady who is having a heart attack on the way to the theater.  She will never arrive.  Besides, where is there a theater for such fragile spectators?.... Her wings, with their tiny golden threads, are moving like a double fan in front of no face; and between them is this thin body, a bilboquet onto which two eyes like emerald balls have fallen back....

It is in you, my dear, that God has exhausted himself.  He tosses you into the fire so that he can recover a bit of strength.  ( Like a little boy breaking into his piggy bank.)

~ Rainer Maria Rilke
taken from Four Sketches, Uncollected Poems
translation by Stephen Mitchell


erin said...

i do not understand how rilke did it. and i do not understand how and why his voice is so current, but it seems to me that he is kin. somehow i know even his dialect and this is impossible, but rather it is what he is connected to (which ironically has no real voice or language) that i understand and am familiar with.

it is this line upon which the whole piece rests like a teeter totter: She will never arrive. arriving never matters.

oh god, i love this piece. thank you for it.