Torso of an Archaic Apollo


Male torso, C. 480-470 BC.. Broken in antiquity, the piece was repaired in the second century BC and used to decorate a Roman theater at Miletus, where it was discovered. (possible inspiration for Rilke’s Poem)

 
 

ARCHÄISCHER TORSO APOLLOS

“Wir kannten nicht sein unerhörtes Haupt,
darin die Augenäpfel reiften. Aber
sein Torso glüht noch wie ein Kandelaber,
in dem sein Schauen, nur zurückgeschraubt,
sich hält und glänzt. Sonst könnte nicht der Bug
der Brust dich blenden, und im leisen Drehen
der Lenden könnte nicht ein Lächeln gehen
zu jener Mitte, die die Zeugung trug.

Sonst stünde dieser Stein entstellt und kurz
unter der Schultern durchsichtigem Sturz
und flimmerte nicht so wie Raubtierfelle

und bräche nicht aus allen seinen Rändern
aus wie ein Stern: denn da ist keine Stelle,
die dich nicht sieht. Du mußt dein Leben ändern.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

Neue Gedichte (New Poems)

1907

 
 

_________________________________

 
 

“Never will we know his fabulous head
where the eyes’ apples slowly ripened. Yet
his torso glows: a candelabrum set
before his gaze which is pushed back and hid,
restrained and shining. Else the curving breast
could not thus blind you, nor through the soft turn
of the loins could this smile easily have passed
into the bright groins where the genitals burned.

Else stood this stone a fragment and defaced,
with lucent body from the shoulders falling,
too short, not gleaming like a lion’s fell;

nor would this star have shaken the shackles off,
bursting with light, until there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.”

Translated by C. F. MacIntyre

 
 

New Poems is a two-part collection of poems written by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926). The first volume, dedicated to Elisabeth and Karl von der Heydt was composed from 1902 to 1907 and was published in the same year by Insel Verlag in Leipzig. The second volume (New Poems: The Other Part), dedicated to Auguste Rodin, was completed in 1908 and published by the same publisher.

 
 

To see more information related to this subject, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228

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