“Rilke is the hardest to locate in a place.He was born a year before Robert Frost in 1875,a little too soon to be a young modernist .very different style .The house where he had lived in Prague as a child cannot be seen;it was destroyed during the war.On Prague Rilke had said”that ,God forgive me,miserable city of subordinate existences”.
Prague was the capitol of Bohemia and Rilke’s family belonged to the German minority that had formed the professional class of the city at that time and yet Rilke felt insulted when mistook for German or Austrian
“In 1866,when the Austrians entered Prague,my parents shut their windows.”
Rilke had a lifelong sense of his own homelessness.The writer of these lines can relate to.
Rilke grew to hate Prague,his father was a failed army officer then a petty clerk for the railroad. Likr Egon schielle ,one of my favorite artists.
Rilke’s mother’s pious Roman Catholicism was an affliction to him feeling suffocated like the Kafkaian beetle .
The old city squares by the rivers suffocating daily life Rilke fled to open windy spaces in Duino amd Muzot
“And where there had been
Just a makeshift hut to receive the music,
A shelter nailed up out of their darkest longing,
With an entryway that shuttered in the wind-
You built a temple inside their hearing.”
– Sonnets to Orpheus
Translated by Stephen Mitchell.
Rilke writes with a strong conviction of an inner emptiness at times longing to be filled and other times content to be left lingering.
“Don’t you know yet?Fling the emptiness out of your arms into the spaces we breathe;perhaps the birds
Will feel the expanded air with more passionate flying.”
To try to locate a muse might be one of the more stupid paths to seek to understand a written work and yet ,one does not need imagination to note the large cathedrals bleeding the working class and selling illusions to the masses.
My own anti religious mother perhaps robbed me of an innocense needed for faith and belonging in a similar fashion to how religous oppression works to destroy the temple within the individual soul.
I used to view the outwardly religious as devoted pilgrims to a sacred city but upon awakening to the destruction of all organized masses in nations and religious groups,i see the religious as murderers of poetry and killers of creativity,monsters that insist on terrorizing individuality and these days hand in hand with pseudo neo liberal distortion demonizing in the name of freedom the reflection of their own social intolerance.
The thin blond Germanic man
With a laptop in his lap
Moves to another place
To give me more space
But really with the intention
Of staying within his comfort zone.
Do we smell too dog like
Do we look too wolf like
Always seeking a sheep
Someone like him
from his comfortable seat
by the window
turning landcapes of wheat
to a computer language
Sitted across cuddling couples
but the world is full of the fruit
of her womb,
They are Italian lingering
embraced in latin,
But she ,
Mother of God;
A marble statue
in an invisible temple
While the German Swiss
Complain about a change
in the schedule,
An unforgivable human error
And moves on
to the next station
of the cross.
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