Black Cat Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke

Black Cat

Rating: 3.3


A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Savita Tyagi 25 August 2015

Great poem. Cats have been associated and are considered to be the carrier of dark mysteries of life. Seeing the reflection of your own self in cat's eye is like seeing that part of your self which is mysterious, elusive yet influencing our good and evil tendencies in the deepest part of our consciousness.

13 10 Reply
Rajnish Manga 08 July 2016

The superstitions often linked with cats have been superbly portrayed by the poet. The expression is extremely captivating. I would like to quote a few lines as under: you see yourself, tiny, inside the golden amber of her eyeballs suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

12 7 Reply
Rod Mendieta 31 December 2016

As to the gender confusion mentioned below, bear in mind only that cat is a feminine noun in German and the original title is Schwartze Katze, with the e ending on the adjective schwartz denoting the female gender, as opposed to the er ending on male adjectives, e.g., schwartzer Mann.

12 7 Reply
Bridie Crann 30 September 2006

Love that twisty ending; reminiscent of 'The Panther”—only rather than the cat caught in the center of man’s confinement, it is man reduced and trapped within the eternal gaze of the cat. So what was it with Rilke and black cats, anyway? And here she takes the role of a kind of innocuous black hole, absorbing without comment whatever he brings her, until that time when she turns her head and—there you are. Sinister! I rated this little gem a 10. ; -)

11 3 Reply
Alicia 06 June 2019

Good ?? but theaido

0 0 Reply
Tracy 17 March 2019

This is a computer audio voice. Not a real woman.

1 1 Reply
Portia Morris 23 October 2018

the audio isnt the best but great poem.!

2 3 Reply
Jeff Waza 10 March 2019

I think it is PURTHETIC

0 0 Reply
okmanfam gamer 02 September 2018

horrible adio speeking ladie

2 2 Reply
Professor Cool 06 August 2018

A brilliant poem that takes the cliche of black cats as an omen and transforms it into a bone-chilling experience, collapsing both object and subject in the end.

2 2 Reply
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Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke

Prague / Czech Republic
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