“The problem is not whether the song will continue,
but whether a dark space can be found where the notes can resonate.” — Rilke
excerpts from a poem by Rilke, the accompanying monotypes are my own:
The First Elegy
Who, if I cried, would hear me among the angelic
orders? And even if one of them suddenly
pressed me against his heart, I should fade in the strength of his
stronger existence. For Beauty’s nothing
but the beginning of Terror we’re still just able to bear…
Fling the emptiness out of your arms
to broaden the spaces we breathe—maybe that the birds
will feel the extended air in more fervent flight.
Yes, the Springs had need of you. Many a star
was waiting for you to perceive it. Many a wave
would rise in the past towards you; or else, perhaps,
as you went by an open window, a violin
would be utterly giving itself…
They’ve finally no more need of us, the early-departed…
But we, that have need of
such mighty secrets, we, for whom sorrow’s so often
source of blessedest progress, could we exist without them?
Is the story in vain, how once, in the mourning for Linos,
venturing earliest music pierced barren numbness, and how,
in the startled space an almost deifed youth
suddenly quitted for ever, emptiness first
felt the vibration that now lifts us and comforts and helps?
The complete poem in the translation I used can be found in Letters to a Young Poet/ The Possibility of Being by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by John M. Burnham.
Another translation by A.S. Kline can be found here: The Duino Elegies.
Another Rilke poem, The Seeker, is in my post Monotypes Made by Children.