And aren’t they all doing the same: simply containing themselves,
If to contain oneself means: to transform the world outside
And wind and rain and patience of spring
And guilt and restlessness and disguised fate
And darkness of earth at evening
All the way to the errancy, flight, and coming on of clouds,
All the way to the vague influence of the distant stars
Into a hand full of inwardness.
Now it lies free of cares in the open roses.
Something that I wrote about Rilke, one of my favourite poets.
He could not swing
out of bed each day
while his vision flayed
every motion a clause
breath slow as a bowl of roses
such sumptuous diversion
in the angle of a heel
the pursing of lips
amplified by all reflection
in the polished metal
and precocious gesture
of Italian film
the drab documents
splayed under his hands
reading the letters between his fingers
hoping they might form words
match with his
he took his time
to perfect every fold
broke every subservient fibre
along his fingernail
as if he were
the hinges of a phrase
The Swan is a poem by Rilke, which is rarely well translated. Here is the translation I like best, unfortunately I can’t find the book it comes from right now.
This drudgery of trudging through tasks
Yet undone, heavily, as if bound,
Is like the swan’s not fully created walking.
And dying, this no longer being able
To hold to the ground we stand on every day,
Like the swan’s anxious letting himself down – :
Into the waters, which gently accept him
And, as if happy and already in the past,
Draw away under him, ripple upon ripple,
While he, now utterly quiet and sure
And ever more mature and regal
And composed, is pleased to glide.
And my own tribute or tributary…
The opening of your mouth
Is slow absolution
The descent of the electromagnet
Before the frenzied waveforms
Of speech pin me to
A butterfly board
The arc of your smile
Is like the jaws closing
And buckling me
As if I was hinged in
Steel at the knees,
The darkness flows in
Like cackling resin.
…that he had to learn to make things out of his fears. Perhaps if I could learn to do that I would not spend all my time running away.