“You, you only, exist” -BY Rainier Maria Rilke

You, you only, exist.
We pass away, till at last,
our passing is so immense
that you arise: beautiful moment,
in all your suddenness,
arising in love, or enchanted
in the contraction of work.

To you I belong, however time may
wear me away. From you to you
I go commanded. In between
the garland is hanging in chance; but if you
take it up and up and up: look:
all becomes festival!

Rainer Maria Rilke

“You only exist/We pass away,till at last/Our passing is so immense/that you arise :beautiful moment”- the contrast here is between our transient existence and the permanence of the beautiful moment. The paradox is amusing: while we pass away , the moment exists and our passing is so immense that a beautiful moment arises. Our semi-permanent(slightly longer) existence contrasts with the brevity of the beautiful moment ,which by its definition is only a moment but exists for all time to come.

“To the beautiful moment” the poet belongs ,however much time wears him away.He moves between one beautiful moment and another. Then come the most beautiful lines of Rilke one has ever come across :

“…In between
The garland is hanging in chance: but if you
take it up and up:look:
all becomes festival!”

In between the beautiful moments,the garland is hanging in chance and it is up to you to take it up and up so that it becomes a festival. It is a matter of chance that you pick some precious moments filled with happiness and if you can do it , happiness is all yours. One of the most optimistic poems of Rilke .

There is a vertical progression between one beautiful moment and another (from you to you I go commanded).In between the garland is hanging in chance . You should take it up and up,then look (down)
:all becomes festival .

“To Be Saved You Must Be Spent” by Michael Chitwood


The blast from the bees’ wings
is enough to knock the blossoms
from the wisteria, late spring
and the sexual clouds of pollen
are dissipating in the backyard.
The blooms’ purple confetti litters
the yard, the parade gone by,
and the dogwood is dropping pieces
of a letter it’s shredded,
white scraps with just a dab
of ink staining each one.
The words might have proclaimed love
or been an official notice of death.
All that can be said for sure
is that the blue torque of the sky
has tightened.

A delightful nature poem ,which appears in Today’s Poems Daily. A highly “visual” description with several subsidiary elements which reinforce the picture makes the poem a visual treat. “The blast from the bees’ wing ” which knocks the blossoms from the wisteria is a visual-dynamic image suggesting both love and destruction,the tranquillity of love with the violence of a passion. The violence continues later with the dogwood dropping shredded pieces of a love letter ,white scraps with a dab of ink staining each one. A delightful description of the words which may have been spoken proclaiming love or been an obituary statement. All that can be said for sure is that the torque of the sky has tightened .

“Between going and coming”- A poem by Octavio Paz


Between going and staying
the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can’t be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause.

The moment wavers first between day and night .There is then stillness, a pause. Then the moment scatters- a visual -dynamic image.The visual elements in the poem warrant a close look :”transparency” ,”circular afternoon”,”All is visible “, “shade”,”throbbing” “ghostly theatre of reflections”, “stare” ,”scatters”. A certain wistfulnes is in the air,a lightness of being.Still life with occasional dynamic images.”paper,book,pencil,glass/rest in the shades of their names” .Mark the light turns the indifferent wall into a theatre of reflections.

“THE POET”- by P.Lal

For all his wild hair like an aureole,
Stammer at parties, slipping from a tram,
Putting off the mending of a sole,
And putting on a mock-heroic Damn!,
He notices the spider’s intestines
Claim harlot, smuggler and blackmarketeer,
And in the clicking grin his eye divines
A moody world of artifice and fear.

Above all, this: When a woman turns
Black clouds of hair, with a rhythmic hand
Weaving their silk in the possessive sun,
He sees her common eyes stretch to a land
O lost, lost; as when repentance yearns
For hope,and love, and finds that there is none.


Of course the the poet is talking about a poet. A clumsy poet who wears his hair like an aureole,stammers at parties,slips from a tram and puts off the mending of a sole. But he is agile and observant ,noticing all those things like the spider’s intestines claiming harlot,smuggler and black marketeer .In the “clicking” grin he divines a moody world of artifice and fear.

The most beautiful part of the poem is the image that comes in the second stanza .In this the poet “sees” an exaggerated poetry in the woman’s eyes when they were just common.When the woman turns black clouds of hair ,with a rhythmic hand weaving their silk in the possessive sun,he sees her eyes stretch to a land lost ,as when repentance yearns for hope and love and finds that there is none. Delicious.The poet ,rather too quickly,divines a moody world of artifice and fear.

One wonders if the poet is having a quiet dig at our poet friend who is spinning fancy tales about the woman who is standing in the sun to comb her hair.

“The sparks from your firesmoky eyes” by Doris Kareva

Translated from the Estonian by Tiina Aleman

The sparks from your firesmoky eyes
kept the room warm for hours,
days, weeks, and months.

I recognized that feeling: the glow.
I recognized that feeling.

it happened in another time, another film.

When you photographed the paradise trees
and I talked with the birds.

Neither of us tasted anything there,
did we?

Translation of “Need sädemed Su tulesuitsusilmis.” Copyright Doris Kareva. Translation copyright 2007 by Tiina Aleman. All rights reserved.

“Although it happened in another time,another film” ,the glow from her fire-smoky eyes kept the room warm for hours ,days ,months .The sparks had happened in another time and in another space. The photographic space of another film which contained the spatial situation of that time. She had captured the paradise trees on her film while he talked with the birds. Today is another film , another time,another script but the glow of the sparks from her fire-smoky eyes continues to warm the room. Together they had participated in the joint existence of the then spatial situation but neither had actually tasted the experience,per se or may be, they did.

Another interpretation could be that the sparks form her fire-smoky eyes kept the room warm for long and he recognized the glow and that feeling. When she photographed the paradise trees and he talked with the birds ,neither of them actually experienced anything or did they ? The poet probably means that the experience of the sparks from her eyes ,although it happened in another photographic space ,continued much after . But in the situation when she photographed the paradise trees and he talked with the birds ,nothing much by way of a memorable experience has actually happened.

Any number of interpretations could be placed on the meaning. The translation could perhaps have caused some confusion too. But some lovely images come along as we try to understand the the poem. ‘fire-smoky eyes” is one such usage which suggests pretty eyes full of passion hidden under swirls of smoke.”when you photographed the paradise trees and I talked with the birds” is another pretty usage employing the technique of a juxtaposition indicative of two different activities being performed by the poet and the lover.

“An Old Woman”-By Arun Kolatkar

An old woman grabs
hold of your sleeve
and tags along. .

She wants a fifty paise coin.
She says she will take you
to the horseshoe shrine.

You’ve seen it already.
She hobbles along anyway
and tightens her grip on your shirt

She won’t let you go.
You know how old women are.
They stick to you like a burr.

You turn around and face her
with an air of finality.
You want to end the farce.

When you hear her say,
‘What else can an old woman do
on hills as wretched as these?’

You look right at the sky.
Clear through the bullet holes
she has for her eyes.

And as you look on,
the cracks that begin around her eyes
spread beyond her skin.

And the hills crack.
And the temples crack.
And the sky falls

With a plate-glass clatter
Around the shatterproof crone
who stands alone

And you are reduced
to so much small change
in her hand


You look right at the sky
Clear through the bullet-holes
She has for eyes.

The old woman’s eyes are just two gaping holes filled with empty air,with the hills and the sky.Then the cracks begin around her eyes ,spreading beyond her skin and then the hills crack, the temples crack and the sky cracks and the the sky finally shatters and falls like plate-glass. The old woman herself is shatter-proof and nothing happens to her .Only you get instantly reduced to small change in her hand .It is you who shatter because her eyes are already bullet-holes which are formed with the cracks around the holes.

“Touch” by Octavio Paz

My hands
open the curtains of your being
clothe you in a further nudity
uncover the bodies of your body
My hands
invent another body for your body

Translation by Eliot Weinberger

The magic of his touch is such that it transforms her being ,uncovering the bodies of her body. Her body is not a single entity but a multiple-layered existence containing several unexplored bodies within.Her physical being comes to light as his exploring hands remove the curtains thereby flooding her inner being with exquisite light. A new body is invented ,a new life comes into being.