Thursday, December 17, 2009

"pour yourself out like a fountain"

Part Two XII of Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming
... a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.

"Evening Mood", Adolph William Bouquereau

Rainer Maria Rilke (Wikepedia)
Born 4 December 1875(1875-12-04)
Prague, Bohemia, Austria–Hungary
Died 29 December 1926 (aged 51)
Montreux, Switzerland
Occupation:  poet, novelist
Nationality:  Austrian
Writing period:  1894 - 1925
Influences:  J. P. Jacobsen, Lou Andreas-SalomĂ©, Auguste Rodin, CĂ©zanne, Leopardi, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Leconte de Lisle

(Rilke, circa 1900)

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.

(The above stanzas from Sonnets to Orpheus are taken from one of my favourite books, "In Praise of Mortality: Selections from Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus" by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy.)

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.


  1. Hi Bonnie-

    this is exquisite and so informative. I am truly impressed and intrigued. Your expression, presentation and knowledge are honorable and true. "Thank you" for sharing with me. And may I add what two thoughts came to mind for me -
    first - I am reminded that all we are asked to do is be "broken and poured out" so others can have hope.
    and Second -my son studied in Prague for a year at a campus- site that NYU has there. It was a wondrous experience for him, for all of us. He is a writer, and an artist, and soaked up every nuance.

    Love to you

  2. wonderful verse...become like water, flowing free...something to aspire to...

  3. I always thought he was a girl...anyway love his poetry, thank you for putting it on the front burner- it is season friendly poetry - thoughts are as deep as the snow..

  4. Wonderful writings. I'm really moved by the images posted with it and I'm really inspired by that portrait of Rainer Maria Rilke, as well as his words.
    great post, Bonnie.

  5. I love this piece by Rainer Maria Rilke. It is full of passion and life. I like the snowflakes too. :)

    Julie Magers Soulen Photography
    Blog of Note

  6. Beautiful pairing of poet and painter!


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