Friday, November 6, 2009

I Live My Life In Growing Orbits

Are people into poetry less than they used to be? Or has poetry always been something only for the few? Since I never lived in a previous age, and am uncertain whether there is any research data on this, I will assume nothing except to note that somehow poetry, like opera or abstract painting perhaps, is something a lot of people don't get into.

As for me, I enjoy poetry. And one of my favorite poets is Rainer Maria Rilke. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Rilke, followed by one of my favorite poems of his.

Rainer Maria Rilke (also Rainer Maria von Rilke) (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926) is considered one of the German language's greatest 20th-century poets. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety: themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets.

He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. His two most famous verse sequences are the Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. He also wrote more than 400 poems in French, dedicated to his homeland of choice, the canton of Valais in Switzerland.


I Live My Life In Growing Orbits

I live my life in growing orbits,
which move out over the things of this world.
Perhaps I can never achieve the last,
but that will be my attempt.

I am circling around God,
around the ancient tower,
and I have been circling for a thousand years.
And I still do not know
if I am a Falcon,
or a storm,
or a great song.

~ R. M. Rilke

2 comments:

Christella said...

Very haunting poem.

ENNYMAN said...

Interesting comment. I didn't read it that way, though much of his work does have that haunted feeling... There is a sense of the Myth of Sysiphus here, the repeating uncertainty... though I also find it affirming, a striving to have his life be a great song.

Before I was fammliar with this I once wrote a poem called The Comet in which I personified the course of the comet to metaphorically reflect myself to some extent... Rilke takes it further.

thanks for the alternate angle. It is a very existential stance for sure, ...