Saturday, April 24, 2010

What I mean when I say Rilke speaks to me

I found in my inbox today, courtesy of Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, this poem, by Rainer Maria Rilke:

You don't know nights of love? No
petals of soft words float on your blood?
No secret places on your body
throb with memories, like eyes?

And it just makes me gasp and blush and sets my head aswirl. Is it just me?

I don't, as a rule, get poetry. So why this poem? Why does Rilke speak to me, while others hear Keats and Shelley? What is it about Rilke, and about me, that we have something to say to each other? Something other people aren't privy to — it's not for their ears. This is between Rilke and me.
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