Rainer Maria Rilke

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

Dedication to M.


Swing of the heart. O firmly hung, fastened on what
invisible branch. Who, who gave you the push,
that you swung with me into the leaves?
How near I was to the exquisite fruits. But not-staying
is the essence of this motion. Only the nearness, only
toward the forever-too-high, all at once the possible
nearness. Vicinities, then
from an irresistibly swung-up-to place
-already, once again, lost-the new sight, the outlook.
And now: the commanded return
back and across and into equilbrium's arms.
Below, in between, hesitation, the pull of earth, the passage
through the turning-point of the heavy-, past it: and the
catapult stretches,
weighted with the heart's curiosity,
to the other side, opposite, upward.
Again how different, how new! How they envy each other
at the ends of the rope, these opposite halves of pleasure.

Or, shall I dare it: these quarters?-And include, since it
witholds itself,
that other half-circle, the one whose impetus pushes the
swing?
I'm not just imagining it, as the mirror of my here-and-now
arc. Guess nothing. It will be
newer someday. But from endpoint to endpoint
of the arc that I have most dared, I already fully possess it:
overflowings from me plunge over to it and fill it,
stretch it apart, almost. And my own parting,
when the force that pushes me someday
stops, makes it all the more near.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Dedication to M. by Rainer Maria Rilke )

  • Rookie Rae Jones (10/8/2009 12:41:00 AM)

    I don't know how this works in German, but the rhythm in English perfectly matches the theme. Onomatopoiea in more than one word. (Report) Reply

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