Poetic Spotlight: Archaic Torso of Apollo

Rainer Maria Rilke. Image care of Wikimedia Commons.

This week, it’s time to celebrate a little poetic brand of Oktoberfest with one of Germany’s most famous poetic sons – Rainer Maria Rilke and his poem: “Archaic Torso of Apollo.” A cerebral piece, built of similes and entrancing image, it is one work that guides you crisply along to an altogether potent ending. It showcases Rilke’s true power and status as one of the foremost poets of the late 19th century, and of the German language in its entirety.

Archaic Torso of Apollo

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

~Rainer Maria Rilke

A touch of emotion…

I think Dale Carnegie, author of the still-famous “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” said it best when he declared, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”

Emotion lies at the core of man. It drives him, stirs him, moves him both in his actions and his reactions. Writers, perhaps, are among some of the most emotional of people, for they must be, as it is their want in life to capture the essential essences of mankind…

The latest quote of the week – a commentary on emotion:

“All emotions are pure which gather you and lift you up; that emotion is impure which seizes only one side of your being and so distorts you.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Quotes for the Writer

This week’s Quotes of the Week are ones that appealed to the poet in me: the first made that poet sing, and the second made the poet grin for the sad truth of it. I know I’m not seeing any money in the future of it, but then, I knew that going in. If you’re writing just for money, after all, you’re doing it wrong…

Rainer Rilke. From Wikimedia Commons.

Jules Renard. From Wikimedia Commons.

“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for the Creator, there is no poverty.” ~Rilke

“Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” ~Jules Renard