Rilke, Rainer Maria - 48 & 49 Tenth Elegy
Type of spiritual experience
Puvis de Chavanne
A description of the experience
Duino Elegies – Rainer Maria Rilke [The Tenth Elegy]
His sight cannot grasp it, still dizzied
by early death. But her gaze
frightens an owl from behind the rim of the crown,
and the bird brushes, with slow skimming flight, along the cheek,
the one with the richer curve,
and inscribes the indescribable
outline, on the new
hearing born out of death, as though
on the doubly-unfolded page of a book.
And higher: the stars.
New stars, of Grief-Land.
Slowly the Lament names them:
‘There, see: the Rider, the Staff,
and that larger constellation they name Fruit-Garland.
Then, further, towards the Pole:
the Cradle, the Way, the Burning Book, the Doll, the Window.
But in the southern sky,
pure as on the palm of a sacred hand,
the clearly shining M,
that stands for the Mothers......’
49 Duino Elegies – Rainer Maria Rilke [The Tenth Elegy]
But the dead must go on, and in silence the elder Lament
leads him as far as the ravine,
where the fountain of joy
glistens in moonlight. With awe
she names it saying: ‘Among men
this is a load-bearing river.’