Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I used to be in the habit of reading a book of poetry every month or so. I've been lax about it since last summer, and the other night I realized how much I miss reading new poems. So I decided to pick something up. After spreading eight books of poetry out on my floor and looking at each one, I chose Rilke, one of my favorite poets, who seems especially appropriate to read in the spring and early summer. I'm working my way through the fairy thick Selected Poetry, edited and translated by Stephen Mitchell. Though I'm not usually a fan of compilations, and much prefer to read whole works written by the poet, it is the only book of Rilke I have that I haven't read, so I'm giving it a shot. I'm about fifteen pages into it, and here's my favorite poem so far:


The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven, one that falls;

and leave you, not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion
of what becomes a start each night, and rises

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immesurable,
it is alternatley stone in you and star.

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