Rainer Maria Rilke

(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926 / Prague / Czech Republic)

Along the Sun-Drenched Roadside


Along the sun-drenched roadside, from the great
hollow half-treetrunk, which for generations
has been a trough, renewing in itself
an inch or two of rain, I satisfy
my thirst: taking the water's pristine coolness
into my whole body through my wrists.
Drinking would be too powerful, too clear;
but this unhurried gesture of restraint
fills my whole consciousness with shining water.

Thus, if you came, I could be satisfied
to let my hand rest lightly, for a moment,
lightly, upon your shoulder or your breast.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Jagannath rao Adukuri (4/7/2006 1:11:00 AM)

    A typical poem by Rilke, the poem uses a simple metaphor drawn from nature to describe how he would receive his love. The metaphor is beautiful, a dynamic one stating an entire experience, uniquely personal and not a universalized one. The poet does not drink the water from the tree trunk to quench his thirst but lets the experience seep though his whole being beginning with a tactile experience of absorbing its pristineness through the wrists.The experience is something that gets transformed into an entirely spiritual one from a purely sensory one.

    A very remarkable thing about the poem is that the metaphor occupies more space in the scheme of things than the main theme: How he will receive his love. The beauty of the sensory experience entirely obfuscates the physical experience of love obtained through nearness and touch and raises it to the level of another spiritual experience. (Report) Reply

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