Analysis of To Lou Andreas-Salome

Rainer Maria Rilke 1875 (Prague) – 1926 (Montreux)

I held myself too open, I forgot
that outside not just things exist and animals
fully at ease in themselves, whose eyes
reach from their lives' roundedness no differently
than portraits do from frames; forgot that I
with all I did incessantly crammed
looks into myself; looks, opinion, curiosity.
Who knows: perhaps eyes form in space
and look on everywhere. Ah, only plunged toward you
does my face cease being on display, grows
into you and twines on darkly, endlessly,
into your sheltered heart.

As one puts a handkerchief before pent-in-breath-
no: as one presses it against a wound
out of which the whole of life, in a single gush,
wants to stream, I held you to me: I saw you
turn red from me. How could anyone express
what took place between us? We made up for everything
there was never time for. I matured strangely
in every impulse of unperformed youth,
and you, love, had wildest childhood over my heart.

Memory won't suffice here: from those moments
there must be layers of pure existence
on my being's floor, a precipitate
from that immensely overfilled solution.

For I don't think back; all that I am
stirs me because of you. I don't invent you
at sadly cooled-off places from which
you've gone away; even your not being there
is warm with you and more real and more
than a privation. Longing leads out too often
into vagueness. Why should I cast myself, when,
for all I know, your influence falls on me,
gently, like moonlight on a window seat.

Translated by A. Poulin

Poetic Form
Metre 111110101 111111010100 101100111 111111100 1101110111 111101001 101110100100 11011101 011101101011 1111101011 01101110100 011101 111010001101 1111010101 111011100101 11111111111 1111111001 111011111110 11101110110 010010111 01111011011 10010111110 1111011010 111010010 110101010 111111111 11011111011 110111011 11011011101 111101101 100101011110 0110111111 11111100111 101110101 0101001
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,458
Words 266
Sentences 14
Stanzas 5
Stanza Lengths 12, 9, 4, 9, 1
Lines Amount 35
Letters per line (avg) 33
Words per line (avg) 8
Letters per stanza (avg) 234
Words per stanza (avg) 53
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:21 min read

Rainer Maria Rilke

René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke — better known as Rainer Maria Rilke — was a Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist, "widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets", writing in both verse and highly lyrical prose. more…

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