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The Monday Poem > Before Summer Rain - by Rainer Maria Rilke (13th June 2016)

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message 1: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 12111 comments Mod
Suddenly, from all the green around you,
something-you don't know what-has disappeared;
you feel it creeping closer to the window,
in total silence. From the nearby wood

you hear the urgent whistling of a plover,
reminding you of someone's Saint Jerome:
so much solitude and passion come
from that one voice, whose fierce request the downpour

will grant. The walls, with their ancient portraits, glide
away from us, cautiously, as though
they weren't supposed to hear what we are saying.

And reflected on the faded tapestries now;
the chill, uncertain sunlight of those long
childhood hours when you were so afraid.

Taken from poemhunter.com


message 2: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments That first stanza gives me chills -- I think it is the "creeping closer" bit with the "green around you" that makes me think of snakes in the jungle.


message 3: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13486 comments Mod
Breath taking


message 4: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
I'm uncertain what it means on a logical level, but it's such a lovely poem Alannah!

I especially love the lines: "the urgent whistling of a plover, / reminding you of someone's Saint Jerome: / so much solitude and passion come / from that one voice, whose fierce request the downpour / will grant. "

I wonder if this is part of a poem sequence or what book it comes from? The Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God maybe? I'll have to check my Rilke selected poems and see if I can find this one.


message 5: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ Beautiful poem.


message 6: by Gill (last edited Jun 16, 2016 04:48AM) (new)

Gill | 5720 comments Very nice, Alannah. Many thanks!

One of the things that so often takes me by surprise anew, is how bird song is linked to the weather and the time of day.


message 7: by Susie (new)

Susie | 179 comments I like this poem a lot...it sort of pours over you for an almost physical reaction...lovely imagery!


message 8: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments I really like this poem Alannah, I've read a lot of his poems when he was our seasonal poet and this one really got stuck in my mind and under my skin somehow, as like Greg, I am not entirely sure I even really understand it rationally, but it's very hard to escape the atmosphere it creates.

@ Greg, it's from New Poems and it's a 'standalone'. I just found it in my The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and compared the translation which is the same, so I guess poemhunter also used the Stephen Mitchell translation.


message 9: by Evelyn (new)

Evelyn | 1410 comments I have just finished reading Letters on Life, a book of excerpts from this poet's letters and journals. Very enjoyable.


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