|My mother playing with a teddy Christmas 2009 - her second Childhood|
It would be good to give much thought, before
you try to find words for something so lost,
for those long childhood afternoons you knew
that vanished so completely --and why?
We're still reminded--: sometimes by a rain,
but we can no longer say what it means;
life was never again so filled with meeting,
with reunion and with passing on
as back then, when nothing happened to us
except what happens to things and creatures:
we lived their world as something human,
and became filled to the brim with figures.
And became as lonely as a shepherd
and as overburdened by vast distances,
and summoned and stirred as from far away,
and slowly, like a long new thread,
introduced into that picture-sequence
where now having to go on bewilders us.
I will offer here a very short commentary by way of illumination, though not explanation. As I have always been at pains to point out in these pages, explanation is nothing short of a sheer travesty of the very meaning of poetry. However, points of illumination by way of associations, resonances, chords struck, notes sounded, ideas sparked off one another, feelings moved, soul-depths plumbed, soul-heights scaled - all of these are allowed, but never to explain and say a final word - never. They merely open up the mystery of the poem and expand it, never reducing it.
|Me on the left with my brothers, aged around 5|
I have also said many times here that Rilke's poems are never ethereal. Indeed they are so real that within his creative power and use of words, objects and things become transfigured, and in this sense are rendered Joycean ephiphanies as we find in these lines above: "We're still reminded--: sometimes by a rain,but we can no longer say what it means;"