Archaic Torso of Apollo by Rainer Maria Rilke


I've had quite a long day, and I haven't had the time to really muster up any interesting ideas for a blog post. So I thought I'd share one of my favorite poems, "Archaic Torso of Apollo" by Ranier Maria Rilke. It's an elegy to the power of art to inspire change. And the last line, maybe the great last line of any poem, always manages to surprise me with its immediacy. Enjoy, and I'll get back at you next week. 


Archaic Torso of Apollo

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1875 - 1926

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could 
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.