Rainer Maria Rilke

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

Black Cat - Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke

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 about Black Cat by Rainer Maria Rilke

  • (6/4/2018 1:47:00 PM)

    i reaky like the peom black cat (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • (5/10/2018 12:38:00 PM)

    The lines are so meaningful (Report) Reply

  • (4/26/2018 1:26:00 PM)

    hi this is cool! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Narayanan Kutty Pozhath (4/24/2018 7:21:00 AM)

    Very sensible lines (Report) Reply

  • (4/13/2018 9:32:00 AM)

    oooooooooooooooooooooooh (Report) Reply

  • (3/30/2018 12:36:00 PM)

    Nice poem (Report) Reply

  • (3/28/2018 12:06:00 PM)

    v good it was a great poem on my favorite animal which is the cat (Report) Reply

  • (3/14/2018 4:27:00 AM)

    this poem is a cool poem also, i have a black cat! ! ! xD (Report) Reply

  • (2/7/2018 8:47:00 PM)

    Very much symbolic nd touching. (Report) Reply

  • (1/31/2018 9:43:00 AM)

    this was a great poem i recament it for anyone who loves/likes cats
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/27/2018 5:34:00 AM)

    awesome poem very fun to read and listen (Report) Reply

  • (1/8/2018 3:15:00 PM)

    i woke up and ate toast skrt (Report) Reply

  • (1/8/2018 3:14:00 PM)

    skrtskrtskrtskrtskrtskrtskrt (Report) Reply

  • (1/5/2018 4:50:00 PM)

    i love i want a cat so bad now (Report) Reply

  • (1/3/2018 11:00:00 AM)

    Idc I love it hdjdkdkkdmdkkdmejejekkeke (Report) Reply

  • (12/11/2017 11:18:00 AM)

    I definetly like that (Report) Reply

  • (7/20/2017 9:29:00 PM)

    I find this poem very symbolic and evocative, especially in its sense of disproportion, as in Alice by Lewis Carroll:
    the admirer in the audience suddenly sees himself as a speck in a mob photo, in her eye. Worth selection. AM
    (Report) Reply

  • Rod Mendieta (12/31/2016 12:38:00 PM)

    Gender confusion
    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. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (7/8/2016 2:30:00 AM)

    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.
    (Report) Reply

  • Savita Tyagi (8/25/2015 10:12:00 AM)

    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. (Report) Reply

Read all 30 comments »

User Rating:
3,3 / 5 ( 116 votes ) 28

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?

Read poems about / on: sleep, dark, cat, night, howl

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

[Report Error]