Sonnet XIV from The Sonnets To Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke

We are involved with flower, leaf, and fruit.
They speak not just the language of one year.
From darkness a bright phenomenon appears
and still reflects, perhaps, the jealous glint

of the dead, who fill the earth. How can we know
what part they play within the ancient cycle?
Long since, it has been their job to make the soil
vigorous with the force of their free marrow.

But have they done it willingly? we ask. . .
Does this fruit, formed by heavy slaves, push up
like a clenched fist, to threaten us, their masters?

Or in fact are they the masters, as they sleep
beside the roots and grant us, from their riches,
this hybrid Thing of speechless strength and kisses?

translated by Stephen Mitchell

4 thoughts on “Sonnet XIV from The Sonnets To Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke

  1. It is not often that I find a quotation or a reference to Ranier Maria Renke! I have been giving copies of his “Letters to a Young Poet” for presents for birthdays for over fifty years. His passages on the Fragonard of fears I have tied to instill in my sons. Charles Rogers

  2. Pingback: Sonnet XIV from The Sonnets To Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke | Teacher as Transformer

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