The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

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


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.

  • Greetings from the Canal

    It rained early in the morning on Friday and again in the afternoon -- the first thunderstorm of the season, which displeased the kittens so much…

  • Poem for Friday and Canal Thursday

    Letter Beginning with Two Lines by Czesław Miłosz By Matthew Olzmann You whom I could not save, Listen to me. Can we agree Kevlar backpacks…

  • Poem for Thursday and McCrillis Flowers

    A Violin at Dusk By Lizette Woodworth Reese Stumble to silence, all you uneasy things, That pack the day with bluster and with fret. For here…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded