Treasure Island

Rainer Maria Rilke

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

Black Cat


A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
2 person liked.
1 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: sleep, dark, cat, night, howl

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Black Cat by Rainer Maria Rilke )

Enter the verification code :

  • Bridie Crann (9/30/2006 3:46:00 PM)

    Love that twisty ending; reminiscent of 'The Panther”—only rather than the cat caught in the center of man’s confinement, it is man reduced and trapped within the eternal gaze of the cat. So what was it with Rilke and black cats, anyway? And here she takes the role of a kind of innocuous black hole, absorbing without comment whatever he brings her, until that time when she turns her head and—there you are. Sinister! I rated this little gem a 10.
    ; -) (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Stasying the Course, John F. McCullagh
  2. Preposterous, Alem Hailu Gabre Kristos
  3. The Little Wood, Ruth Manning-Sanders
  4. The Moral Roundabout, Ruth Manning-Sanders
  5. The Old Wheelwright, Ruth Manning-Sanders
  6. The Idiot Girl, Ruth Manning-Sanders
  7. All the Steps, John Taggart
  8. Heimdall, Ruth Manning-Sanders
  9. Orange Berries Dark Green Leaves, John Taggart
  10. Horses To Market, Ruth Manning-Sanders

Poem of the Day

poet William Wordsworth

I

I AM not One who much or oft delight
To season my fireside with personal talk.--
Of friends, who live within an easy walk,
Or neighbours, daily, weekly, in my sight:
...... Read complete »

   
[Hata Bildir]