Get Your Premium Membership

Sonnets X-XVI

Sonnets X-XVI Archaischer Torso Apollos (“Archaic Torso of Apollo”) by Rainer Maria Rilke loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch We cannot know the beheaded god nor his eyes' forfeited visions. But still the figure's trunk glows with the strange vitality of a lamp lit from within, while his composed will emanates dynamism. Otherwise the firmly muscled abdomen could not beguile us, nor the centering loins make us smile at the thought of their generative animus. Otherwise the stone might seem deficient, unworthy of the broad shoulders, of the groin projecting procreation's triangular spearhead upwards, unworthy of the living impulse blazing wildly within like an inchoate star?demanding our belief. You must change your life. TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: This is a poem about a major resolution: changing the very nature of one's life. While it is only my personal interpretation of the poem above, I believe Rilke was saying to himself: "I must change my life." Why? Perhaps because he wanted to be a real artist, and when confronted with real, dynamic, living and breathing art of Rodin, he realized that he had to inject similar vitality, energy and muscularity into his poetry. Michelangelo said that he saw the angel in a block of marble, then freed it. Perhaps Rilke had to find the dynamic image of Apollo, the God of Poetry, in his materials, which were paper, ink and his imagination.?Michael R. Burch Komm, Du (“Come, You”) by Ranier Maria Rilke loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch This was Rilke’s last poem, written ten days before his death. He died open-eyed in the arms of his doctor on December 29, 1926, in the Valmont Sanatorium, of leukemia and its complications. I had a friend who died of leukemia and he was burning up with fever in the end. I believe that is what Rilke was describing here: he was literally burning alive. Come, you?the last one I acknowledge; return? incurable pain searing this physical mesh. As I burned in the spirit once, so now I burn with you; meanwhile, you consume my flesh. This wood that long resisted your embrace now nourishes you; I surrender to your fury as my gentleness mutates to hellish rage? uncaged, wild, primal, mindless, outré. Completely free, no longer future’s pawn, I clambered up this crazy pyre of pain, certain I’d never return?my heart’s reserves gone? to become death’s nameless victim, purged by flame. Now all I ever was must be denied. I left my memories of my past elsewhere. That life?my former life?remains outside. Inside, I’m lost. Nobody knows me here. Der Panther ("The Panther") by Rainer Maria Rilke loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch His weary vision's so overwhelmed by iron bars, his exhausted eyes see only blank Oblivion. His world is not our world. It has no stars. No light. Ten thousand bars. Nothing beyond. Lithe, swinging with a rhythmic easy stride, he circles, his small orbit tightening, an electron losing power. Paralyzed, soon regal Will stands stunned, an abject thing. Only at times the pupils' curtains rise silently, and then an image enters, descends through arrested shoulders, plunges, centers somewhere within his empty heart, and dies. Liebes-Lied (“Love Song”) by Rainer Maria Rilke loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch How can I withhold my soul so that it doesn’t touch yours? How can I lift mine gently to higher things, alone? Oh, I would gladly find something lost in the dark in that inert space that fails to resonate until you vibrate. There everything that moves us, draws us together like a bow enticing two taut strings to sing together with a simultaneous voice. Whose instrument are we becoming together? Whose, the hands that excite us? Ah, sweet song! Come! by Michael R. Burch Will you come to visit my grave, I wonder, in the season of lightning, the season of thunder, when I have lain so long in the indifferent earth that I have no girth? When my womb has conformed to the chastity your anemic Messiah envisioned for me, will you finally be pleased that my sex was thus rendered unpalatable, disengendered? And when those strange loathsome organs that troubled you so have been eaten by worms, will the heavens still glow with the approval of God that I ended a maid? thanks to a spade? And will you come to visit my grave, I wonder, in the season of lightning, the season of thunder? Auschwitz Rose by Michael R. Burch There is a Rose at Auschwitz, in the briar, a rose like Sharon's, lovely as her name. The world forgot her, and is not the same. I still love her and enlist this sacred fire to keep her memory exalted flame unmolested by the thistles and the nettles. On Auschwitz now the reddening sunset settles; they sleep alike?diminutive and tall, the innocent, the "surgeons." Sleeping, all. Red oxides of her blood, bright crimson petals, if accidents of coloration, gall my heart no less. Amid thick weeds and muck there lies a rose man's crackling lightning struck: the only Rose I ever longed to pluck. Soon I'll bed there and bid the world "Good Luck." Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea In Praise of Meter by Michael R. Burch The earth is full of rhythms so precise the octave of the crystal can produce a trillion oscillations, yet not lose a second's beat. The ear needs no device to hear the unsprung rhythms of the couch drown out the mouth's; the lips can be debauched by kisses, should the heart put back its watch and find the pulse of love, and sing, devout. If moons and tides in interlocking dance obey their numbers, what's been left to chance? Should poets be more lax?their circumstance as humble as it is??or readers wince to see their ragged numbers thin, to hear the moans of drones drown out the Chanticleer? Published by The Eclectic Muse Keywords/Tags: sonnet, sonnets, Rilke, German, translation, archaic, torso, Apollo, body, art, sculpture, life, vitality, energy, god, visionary, loins, groin, romantic, writing

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




Post Comments

Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth so only provide specific positive comments that indicate what you appreciate about the poem.

Please Login to post a comment

A comment has not been posted for this poem. Encourage a poet by being the first to comment.