Friday, 8 July 2016

duino autumn

       *duino autumn

saw a man in overalls
in the courtyard this morning
trying to knock down the
leaves of the ornamental
peach ripping the rake handle
along the twigs and branch
looking for an early fall
to save the sweeping
of dry leaves rotten leaf
between brick that comes
later on
stay your hand, friend,
lest god shake your tree
too soon
**'Oh trees of life, oh
when winterly?' wrote
Rilke who heard the angels
in halls of the ear,
in rooms overlooking the
sea, the deeper standing
of their voice, a stronger
being here*** than that
given us felt their
voice in moon in wind
in the turnings up and out
scribing the edge of the
bruised sea along cliffs
in ornamental rooms of a
castle left to his walking

knelt down the gardener
scooped hands deep into
the leaves still a green
crinkle with whitish speckle
and thought his hands
an instant green that shall
replace them
after the
winterly
turning.
stay your hand, friend,
lest god shake your tree
too soon

                        beijing
                        october 2011

*refers to the poetic cycle 'Duinser Elegien' ('Duino Elegies') by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke written from 1912 to 1922. Rilke began with the first elegy while visiting visiting Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis in the Duino castle near Trieste in January 1912. For me these works are of that same wave of inspiration mankind saw in the early twentieth century with insights such as Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and Planck's Quantum Theory. The elegies seem to me their poetic 'equivalents' in that they too go through the known world like an arrow to a deeper core. Photos can be easily found on the internet of the Duino Castle in its striking setting,e.g.

**the first line of the Fourth Elegy. An excellent translation of this can be found at Mr. Peter Lachnewinsky’s website at:


*** ‘a stronger being here’ (in German 'stärkeren Dasein') is drawn from the fourth line of the First Elegy.

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