Rainer Maria Rilke

(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926 / Prague / Czech Republic)

Self-Portrait


The steadfastness of generations of nobility
shows in the curving lines that form the eyebrows.
And the blue eyes still show traces of childhood fears
and of humility here and there, not of a servant's,
yet of one who serves obediantly, and of a woman.
The mouth formed as a mouth, large and accurate,
not given to long phrases, but to express
persuasively what is right. The forehead without guile
and favoring the shadows of quiet downward gazing.

This, as a coherent whole, only casually observed;
never as yet tried in suffering or succeeding,
held together for an enduring fulfillment,
yet so as if for times to come, out of these scattered things,
something serious and lasting were being planned.


Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: childhood, woman, together, women, fear

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Self-Portrait by Rainer Maria Rilke )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie Andrew Hoellering (1/13/2010 8:20:00 AM)

    The external features of the self-portrait resemble photos of Rilke.
    The noble family lineage, as with Churchill, brings confidence and the ambition to succeed.
    The childhood fears are endearing, as is the calm humility and conciseness of one who follows where his art leads, in the service of truth as he sees it.
    It’s unclear to what ‘succeeding’ (second line of the sestet) refers in this translation, possibly to the remarkable poetic works that Rilke is already planning. (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Stafford's Cabin, Edwin Arlington Robinson
  2. Talking Turkeys!, Benjamin Zephaniah
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  5. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  6. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  7. 입싸방은아메센터jh, hthrth fdghfh
  8. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  9. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  10. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Poem of the Day

poet Richard Lovelace

Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Alone..., Luo Zhihai
  2. Soul in anguish, Wensislaus Mbirimi
  3. Nature and five elements, Deepak Ahuja 2
  4. Trust, Deepak Ahuja 2
  5. Alone, ., Luo Zhihai
  6. Why her, Wensislaus Mbirimi
  7. Soulmate, Deepak Ahuja 2
  8. Alone., Luo Zhihai
  9. Father, Wensislaus Mbirimi
  10. Peace, Deepak Ahuja 2
[Hata Bildir]