Monday
Feb062012

Apollo's Archaic Torso

We didn’t know his amazing head

in which the eyes had ripened like apples.  But

his body still glows like a candelabra,

and his way of gazing, though restrained,

 

still holds forth, shining.  Otherwise, the bow of the breast

would have blinded you, and the quiet turning

of loins wouldn’t have carried laughter

to the groins which carried his progeny.

 

Otherwise, this stone would’ve been disfigured,

and just beneath the shoulders a transparent lintel,

and no longer glimmered like a wolf’s fleece,

 

and wouldn’t have sprung forth from all its edges

like a star – because there isn’t a single part

that didn’t see you.  You must change your life.

 

Rainer Maria Rilke; translated by Mark S. Burrows