Treasure Island

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.

What do you think this poem is about?



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 :

  • 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 »

New Poems

  1. Those who complain النئائين, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  2. 3 Petal Flowers, Kyle Schlicher
  3. Prosperity Milking Cow Of Good, sallam yassin
  4. A Blank Page, Elia Michael
  5. Three Score and Ten, Frank Avon
  6. Mary Key, Lilly Emery
  7. ACES AND EIGHTS (The dead man's hand), Alexander Onoja
  8. Love Is A Feeling, Lilly Emery
  9. I saw my father, in silhouette, Thomas Leathandrum
  10. What are these days? !, MOHAMMAD SKATI

Poem of the Day

poet Robert Louis Stevenson

AT last she comes, O never more
In this dear patience of my pain
To leave me lonely as before,
Or leave my soul alone again.... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  4. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  7. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  8. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  9. If, Rudyard Kipling
  10. Television, Roald Dahl

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]