August 8, 2011

The Reader

Boy in a Red Waistcoat, by Paul Cézanne

Who has not known a child like this,
who sinks into a deeper level of his being,
undisturbed by the swift turning
of each brimming page?

Even his own mother might wonder
if it is really he who sits there
saturated with his shadow.

And we, can we know
how much of him
disappears, as he reluctantly looks up
with eyes that yield
to the ready-made world without complaint?

New Poems


  1. Oh yes, I was a child like that.

  2. who has not been a child like this?
    i know his look
    i wear it still
    may i never out grow it

  3. If you're going to be inspired by RMR and Cezanne, you should make it clear that you are not offering an accurate translation, especially since several statements in your poem are contradictions or wilful misunderstandings of what Rilke writes in his original, to say nothing of the omissions. [Though "brimming" is a good choice for the simpler "full" of the German.]

  4. To mikerotheatre, thanks for your comment. All postings on this blog are transcribed directly from the book of readings translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy. We the blog creators have done none of the translating.


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!