Rilke translation of "The Panther"

Rilke translation of "The Panther"

A Story by Michael R. Burch

The Panther
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

His weary vision's so overwhelmed by iron bars,
his exhausted eyes see only blank Oblivion.
His world is not our world. It has no stars.
No light. Ten thousand bars. Nothing beyond.
Lithe, swinging with a rhythmic easy stride,
he circles, his small orbit tightening,
an electron losing power. Paralyzed,
soon regal Will stands stunned, an abject thing.
Only at times the pupils' curtains rise
silently, and then an image enters,
descends through arrested shoulders, plunges, centers
somewhere within his empty heart, and dies.

Keywords/Tags: Rainer Maria Rilke, German, translation, sonnet, panther, cat, animal, nature, extended metaphor, analogy, allegory, freedom, eyes, vision, iron, bar, bars, cage, prison, world, star, light, starlight, stride, orbit, electron, atom, particle, power, will, paralyzed, impotent, abject, pupils, curtain, curtains, image, shoulder, shoulders, heart, emptiness, loneliness, alienation, death, void

© 2020 Michael R. Burch


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Added on February 25, 2020
Last Updated on February 25, 2020
Tags: Rainer Maria Rilke, German, translation, sonnet, panther, cat, animal, nature, extended metaphor, analogy, allegory, freedom, eyes, vision, iron, bar, bars, cage, prison, world, star, light, starlight