The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Wednesday and Rodin Sculpture


Archaic Torso of Apollo
By Rainer Maria Rilke

Translated by Jessie Lemont

We cannot fathom his mysterious head,
Through the veiled eyes no flickering ray is sent;
But from his torso gleaming light is shed
As from a candelabrum; inward bent
His glance there glows and lingers. Otherwise
The round breast would not blind you with its grace,
Nor could the soft-curved circle of the thighs
Steal to the arc whence issues a new race.
Nor could this stark and stunted stone display
Vibrance beneath the shoulders' heavy bar,
Nor shine like fur upon a beast of prey,
Nor break forth from its lines like a great star—
Each spot is like an eye that fixed on you
With kindling magic makes you live anew.

Translated by Stephen Mitchell

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

--------

I have nothing exciting to report from my Tuesday. I did work, I did chores, I started to put jewelry away and ended up pulling out a bunch of things to give away, I tried to take a walk in the rain but I had a kitten snuggled against my hip and how could I force her to get up? At lunchtime we caught up on Supergirl, which has gone from being so delightful to painful to watch, and Billions, which has always been painful to watch!

We had ravioli for dinner and I mistakenly put marmalade on a muffin not knowing it already had garlic powder on it -- not a combination I recommend. We watched The Flash, which was okay but an episode with a giant shark really should be one of the funny ones, not a deadly serious one, and Agent Carter, which in some ways was the best of the season but in others was as frustrating as a lot of the season. More from the VMFA's Rodin exhibit:


Eternal Spring


Large Clenched Hand


La France, modeled by Rodin's student and fellow sculptor Camille Claudel


Cybele


The Forlorn Jester a.k.a. The Man With Bells


The Old Tree (Assemblage: Mercury and Fauness)


The Minotaur, assembled with a young woman


Me being The Thinker.
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