04 April 2005

a Rilke sonnet

The Sonnets to Orpheus, Part II, Number 12:

Will transformation. Be inspired by the flame
where a thing made of Change conceals itself;
this informing spirit, master of all that’s earthly,
loves nothing more than the moment of turning.
What’s heartset on survival is already stony;
how safe is it, hid in its innocuous gray?
Look out, from afar a far harder hardness warns it:
feel the approach of a hammer held high.

Whoever flows forth from himself like a freshet, Knowledge
        will acknowledge,
and lead him, entranced, through her wondrous world,
where endings are often beginnings and beginnings ends.

Every fortune-favored space you wander through, astonished,
is the child or the grandchild of Change. Even Daphne,
as she leafs into laurel, wants to feel you become wind.

[from Reading Rilke by William H. Gass; his translation]

1 comment:

  1. Aha. I changed my blog over here and now the sucker lets me in.

    I'll be astonished indeed when I wander thru a fortune-favored space, my dear. Enjoying Rilke still, I see!