Poem of the Day: Sonnets To Orpheus, Part Two, XII

Sonnets To Orpheus, Part Two, XII
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 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.

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4 responses to “Poem of the Day: Sonnets To Orpheus, Part Two, XII

  1. I don’t understand the line “Every happiness is the child of a separation/ it did not think it could survive.” What does Rilke mean here?

  2. What Rilke is saying here is simply that alternatives exclude and that when we make up our minds to choose one thing– even happiness– we are simultaneously choosing against a host of other possibilities. In this way, we must separate ourselves from all other possibilties (and an infinitude of those) for every single happiness that we choose to pursue. So that perhaps the only way to life is through death (this is a symbolic death that both precedes and includes physical death). Hope maybe that helps. Best– ckr

    • Hey, can u explain it a lil further i mean the entire poem’s main idea. Got it in an assignment want to give the best shot. Help me plz

  3. Pingback: Rilke, Buddhism, and Transforming Dietetics « Longing for Recognition

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