For the Weary of Vision

The Panther

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly–. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

Rainer Maria Rilke

5 responses to “For the Weary of Vision”

  1. Scott Erb Avatar

    Powerful. But I went and found the original German version of the poem. It loses something in translation. I was impressed by this, but awed when I read it in German. Thanks for posting this.

  2. arjunasoctopus Avatar

    i hang up my poet’s boots. Stunning!

    Also love the one from helen l above. Sweetness in the depression, eh?

  3. Kristine Hunt Avatar

    Ahhh Rilke. Always amazing. I love that “like a ritual dance around a center /
    in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.”

  4. Eve Avatar

    Helen, that’s lovely because it’s true. Thanks for sharing.

  5. helenl Avatar

    A powerful and haunting poem. I leave you another.

    Empathic Depression

    My sadness has stolen the beauty
    from the spectrum, left ashes in its stead,
    dark blackberry brambles,
    poison mushrooms, chokecherries.

    Outside my window, a bird is singing.

    Her sound reverberates
    in the springtime air. Blossoms
    thrive like grace notes crowned with fermatas.
    The room rocks with azure light.
    A double rainbow comes pouring in,

    and still, all the world offers me
    is brown.

    from Better With Friends

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