Ekphrasis in response to Rilke’s Turning Point (below)
letting all the deep
rivers of the world – rush in /
cracking open the quartz prism
of your being – you surrendered
– you no longer had a choice
it was necessary
to be torn apart thus
taking a turn, once more – vulnerable as the child you were, in the beginning
to feel all of the pain, buried, to regain –
beyond dialectic …
for integrity demanded – you obey
the higher will / and the voices
calling for you –
let go, fall into our downy wings, beating heart, that we may carry you –
for god lies waiting in you
to be born, again
you – a seed
of divine origin, divested of memory, resonant in form,
endowed of free will,
to navigate this life
bring forth it’s potential
, …the tangled path
that needs best befell you, now yields, its shimmering horizon
all the imprisoned stories
created within – the
that wanted only, to be freed
of imposed bonds
and duty – and shattered
unto the matrix of stars. that frame this presence /
for there is no space ,
in the true moment
for any thing
Thus, beseeching forgiveness ,
from all those hearts, rendered unto you –
the once attained and now beloved forms
bow down to kiss – your purple lips / meeting
their own deeper reflection
, once more
(Wendung) – Rainer Maria Rilke
(tr. stephen mitchell)
The road from intensity to greatness passes through sacrifice. —Kassner
For a long time he attained it in looking.
Stars would fall to their knees
beneath his compelling vision.
Or as he looked on, kneeling,
his urgency’s fragrance
tired out a god until
it smiled at him in its sleep.
Towers he would gaze at so
that they were terrified:
building them up again, suddenly, in an instant!
But how often the landscape,
overburdened by day,
came to rest in his silent awareness, at nightfall.
Animals trusted him, stepped
into his open look, grazing,
and the imprisoned lions
stared in as if into an incomprehensible freedom;
birds, as it felt them, flew headlong
through it; and flowers, as enormous
as they are to children, gazed back
into it, on and on.
And the rumour that there was someone
who knew how to look,
stirred those less
stirred the women.
Looking how long?
For how long now, deeply deprived,
beseeching in the depths of his glance?
When he, whose vocation was Waiting, sat far from home-
the hotel’s distracted unnoticing bedroom
moody around him, and in the avoided mirror
once more the room, and later
from the tormenting bed
then in the air the voices
discussed, beyond comprehension,
his heart, which could still be felt;
debated what through the painfully buried body
could somehow be felt – his heart;
debated and passed their judgement:
that it did not have love.
(And denied him further communions.)
For there is a boundary to looking.
And the world that is looked at so deeply
wants to flourish in love.
Work of the eyes is done, now
go and do heart-work
on all the images imprisoned within you; for you
overpowered them: but even now you don’t know them.
Learn, inner man, to look on your inner woman,
the one attained from a thousand
natures, the merely attained but
not yet beloved form.