Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy
cathy_edgett

Self-Portrait!

 

As many of you know, I love the work of Rilke.  

A few weeks ago, I went to a poetry reading where two men read the following poem of Rilke's and then, read their own Self-Portrait.  It was intriguing.  A friend of mine just did the same thing so I sat with it, feeling how rarely I look in the mirror, but years ago, I participated in a three month, life-changing experience called Eyes of the Beholder.  One piece of homework was to look in the mirror for five, ten, or fifteen minutes, just look and see the love and ancestry that is there.   Try it.  Write down what you see.  Fall in love with yourself.


Self-Portrait


The steadfastness of generations of nobility
shows in the curving lines that form the eyebrows.
And the blue eyes still show traces of childhood fears
and of humility here and there, not of a servant's,
yet of one who serves obediantly, and of a woman.
The mouth formed as a mouth, large and accurate,
not given to long phrases, but to express
persuasively what is right. The forehead without guile
and favoring the shadows of quiet downward gazing.

This, as a coherent whole, only casually observed;
never as yet tried in suffering or succeeding,
held together for an enduring fulfillment,
yet so as if for times to come, out of these scattered things,
something serious and lasting were being planned.


Rainer Maria Rilke

Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming




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