Archaischer Torso Apollos (“Archaic Torso of Apollo”)
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
We cannot know the beheaded god
nor his eyes’ forfeited visions. But still
the figure’s trunk glows with the strange vitality
of a lamp lit from within, while his composed will
emanates dynamism. Otherwise
the firmly muscled abdomen could not beguile us,
nor the centering ***** make us smile
at the thought of their generative animus.
Otherwise the stone might seem deficient,
unworthy of the broad shoulders, of the groin
projecting procreation’s triangular spearhead upwards,
unworthy of the living impulse blazing wildly within
like an inchoate star—demanding our belief.
You must change your life.
Keywords/Tags: German, translation, sonnet, Rainer Maria Rilke, god, Apollo, vision, visions, trunk, abdomen, body, torso, muscle, muscles, muscular, eyes, vision, visions, vitality, will, lamp, light, dynamic, dynamism, *****, groin, stone, phallus, ****, *****, animus, star, change, life