Thanks to all of you who are participating in The Mnemosyne Weekly! If you're new to the blog, you might want to look at the first Mnemosyne post to find out what this project is all about.
Our poem this week is by Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Stephen Mitchell). This is my favorite translation of one of my all time favorite poems. It's a little bit longer than the other ones we've memorized, but I'm sure you'll agree that it's worth the effort. As well, I'd like to mention that Rilke was a wonderful prose writer. If you haven't yet read his Letters to a Young Poet, I highly recommend picking up a hardcover edition so that when you finish reading it you can keep it on your shelf forever!
I love hearing your thoughts about the poems and what your experience was of memorizing them, so please continue to leave comments at the posts. Leave comments for last week's poem by Emily Dickinson at The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Two.
Here is your poem for the week. Enjoy!
A god can do it. But will you tell me how
a man can penetrate through the lyre’s strings?
Our mind is split. And at the shadowed crossing
of heart-roads there is no temple for Apollo.
Song, as you have taught it, is not desire,
not wooing any grace that can be achieved;
song is reality. Simple, for a god.
But when can we be real? When does he pour
the earth, the stars, into us? Young man,
it is not your loving, even if your mouth
was forced wide open by your own voice – learn
to forget that passionate music. It will end.
True singing is a different breath, about
nothing. A gust inside the god. A wind.
— Rainer Maria Rilke (1923), trans. Stephen Mitchell (1989)