He has to vanish

Sonnets to Orpheus I/5

Erect no gravestone for him . Only this:
let the rose blossom each year for his sake.
For it is the god.  His metamorphosis
in this and that. We do not need to look

for other names. It is Orpheus once for all
whenever there is song. He comes and goes.
Isn’t it enough if sometimes he can dwell
with us a few days longer than a rose?

Though he himself is afraid to disappear,
he has to vanish: don’t you understand?
The moment this word moves out beyond our life here,

he has gone where you will never find his trace.
The lyre’s strings do not constrict his hands.
And it is in overstepping that he obeys.

R.M. Rilke Sonnets to Orpheus I/5

GERMAN ORIGINAL

Das V. Sonett

Errichtet keinen Denkstein. Lasst die Rose
nur jedes Jahr zu seinen Gunsten blühn.
Denn Orpheus ists. Seine Metamorphose
in dem und dem. Wir sollen uns nicht mühn

um andre Namen. Ein für alle Male
ists Orpheus, wenn es singt. Er kommt und geht.
Ists nicht schon viel, wenn er die Rosenschale
um ein paar Tage manchmal übersteht?

O wie er schwinden muss, dass ihrs begrifft!
Und wenn ihm selbst auch bangte, dass er schwände.
Indem sein Wort das Hiersein übertrifft,

ist er schon dort, wohin ihrs nicht begleitet.
Der Leier Gitter zwangt ihm nicht die Hände.
Und er gehorcht, indem er überschreitet.

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.
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