A savage creative storm

Listening to Orpheus (1)

A tree ascended there. Oh pure transcendence!
Oh Orpheus sings!Oh tall tree in the ear!
And all things hushed. Yet even in that silence
a new beginning, beckoning, change appeared.

…so begin the “Sonnets to Orpheus”, a lyric masterpiece, written in only five days by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who had an encounter with Orpheus in 1922.

He had retreated to the Chalet Muzot to finish a project of 15 years – the Duino Elegies. But as he worked on his notes, he suddenly felt an irresistible urge to write the ” small russet sails”, as he called the sonnets. Rilke described this instance of pressing inspiration in a letter at this time as “a savage creative storm”, and claimed that he had dropped meals because the poetic spirit took hold of him for many hours on end.

FranzVonStuck-Orpheus-1891

Orpheus, born in the Rhodopian mountains of Thracia is said to be son of a god – Apollo – and a muse – Kalliope. He may have existed thirty centuries ago, a king, a shaman, a traveller and he survived as a myth, an archetype and a creative force, that can be heard and felt, when listening deeply into the stillness of being. Orpheus is the ultimate poet seer, a musician, a healer and his name carries his purpose, for the Greek ορφνη means ” darkness f the night”. He is the one who travelled to the underworld and returned. His is a story of love, faith and doubt. A story of grief and loss and healing. His art was to listen – and sing. For when Orpheus sang, the trees bowed and the wild animals lay down at his feet.

Creatures of stillness crowded from the bright
unbound forest, out of their lairs and nests;
and it was not from any dullness, not
from fear, that they were s quiet in themselves,

but from listening.

What was it they heard ? A song, a melody  0r a remembrance ? And what was it, Orpheus taught Rilke in the intimate and savage experience over five days in February 1922 …

The Sonnets to Orpheus – Part 1/1

A tree ascended there. Oh pure transendence!
Oh Orpheus sings! Oh tall tree in the ear!
And all things hushed. Yet even in that silence
a new beginning, beckoning, change appeared.

Creatures of stillness crowded from the bright
unbound forest, out of their lairs and nests;
and it was not from any dullness, not
from fear, that they were so quiet in themselves,

but from just listening. Bellow, roar, shriek
seemed small inside their hearts. And where there had been
at most a makeshift hut to receive the music,

a shelter nailed up out of their darkest longing,
with an entryway that shuddered in the wind-
you built a temple deep inside their hearing.

GERMAN ORIGINAL

Das I. Sonett

Da stieg ein Baum. O reine Übersteigung!
O Orpheus singt! O hoher Baum im Ohr!
Und alles schwieg. Doch selbst in der Verschweigung
ging neuer Anfang, Wink und Wandlung vor.

Tiere aus Stille drangen aus dem klaren
gelösten Wald von Lager und Genist;
und da ergab sich, dass sie nicht aus List
und nicht aus Angst in sich so leise waren,

sondern aus Hören. Brüllen, Schrei, Geröhr
schien klein in ihren Herzen. Und wo eben
kaum eine Hütte war, dies zu empfangen,

ein Unterschlupf aus dunkelstem Verlangen
mit einem Zugang, dessen Pfosten beben, –
da schufst du ihnen Tempel im Gehör.

Rainer Maria Rilke, zwischen dem 2. und 5.2.1922, Chateau de Muzot

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
This entry was posted in Listening to Orpheus, Orpheus and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s