Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rilke Sonnet from Sonnets to Orpheus

Don't lay a stone to his memory. The rose
can bloom, if you like, once a year for his sake.
For Orpheus is the rose. His metamorphosis
takes this form, that form. No need to think
about his other names. Once and for all:
when there's singing, it's Orpheus. He comes and goes.
It's enough if sometimes he stays several
days; more, say, than a bowl of roses.
He has to vanish so you can understand.
Even if it frightens him to dissappear.
While his word is transforming our beings here
he's somewhere else, past following.
The lyre's grill doesn't pinch his hands.
Even as he breaks rules, he's obeying.

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