28, of February (poetry)

1 – Rainer Maria Rilke, Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke, and it roughly translated to:
“And the party is far. And the light lies.
And the night is near about him and cool.”

I’ve been reading a lot. I try to quarrel with the stillness, though I’m prescient to its victory. My day, languid as a drop, was spent strolling through very empty treks and phantom-fields, as if one inhabited a painting, or was, by some violent concatenation or sortilege, the last living element of a preserved landscape, or a particle of dust bobbing about in a memory. Lesser than the wisdom of times is the wisdom of wounds. Scrapes in an earth that cannot heal. Blows of terrible assortment. That gash or scar, perpetual, in something forgotten, twice betrayed. This poem is in little ways dissimilar to what I made when I began writing poems, which would be no lesser haunting a sensation than that by it accited were it to be written a couple of months ago, but now, strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, it assuages me. Confirms me.
I try not to be too sad, and I never am. Sadness is disequilibration until one falls into oneself, and then it is something else entirely. But sadness can also be peace, if one is not enthralled by its fluctuations, and then everything is peace. The remnants of a war can seem like all of this: a deepity, not less, but an honesty, when admitted by smallness. The admitting, despite indicated by the when, is not the difficulty, and then, by lack of contrast, we are only left with smallness.

Published by João-Maria

A tick clinging to the bristles of a purple boar.

34 thoughts on “28, of February (poetry)

  1. Your poem at the end gave me pause, to go back and reread it. To fully mentally digest it, for me that is a sigh of a good piece of poetry. Take care, be safe. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A not-so-subtle reference to a great passage of an even greater author. At the end of things, we’d like to be reaffirmed by something familiar. The sound of birds, perhaps. Or something hidden.
      I’m the thankful one, Bill. It’s awesome to have you come by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I read some Rilke when I lived in Germany because, you know, I’m superstitious about things. The vibe in that piece really hits on the isolation and surreal quality to the lockdown I’ve been feeling for a while, as most around the world likely have. That reference to feeling like we’re in a painting too.

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      2. You know, Bill, it’s curious, I don’t particularly like this work by Rilke. Rilke himself did not like it. Parts of it, however, are immensely lyrical and beautiful, but the whole of it can feel like little, especially from what comes to expect from Rilke.
        I’ve been learning German and I’m finally at a stage where his works are legible to me in their native language. The passage I cited feels much like that terribly isolational quality that nights can bring upon one. A coolness, a syphoning.
        It’s likely that I will also live in Germany for a while eventually. I must ask you if you enjoyed it or not one of these days.

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      3. God I loved living in Germany, my mom lives there still in the south, the area they call Swabia not far from Stuttgart. You’ll love being there, I hope. You could teach English! They favor English-English over American-English for obvious reasons. We butcher the language.

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      4. In my case, I would might end up there because of a research scholarship, not so much to teach. I’m majoring in Germanistics, hence the German and the common German literature references sprinkled throughout my writings.
        I don’t have formal training in the English language, but I could teach Portuguese to anyone interested over there, haha. Köln, Trier oder Berlin, so, nowhere near Baden-Württemberg, but one of my dreams is to visit Wertach, in Bayern but near Stuttgart and München. Being European, it won’t be much of a change of air, to be honest, but a welcome one nonetheless, were it to happen. The German disposition is closer to my natural one than the Portuguese, I often find. Though I tend to be nicer.

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      5. Wonderful! We loved our time in Berlin, Kreuzberg, and I trust it would resonate with you too for its vibrancy. “Germanistics.” I love the sound of that. I read a tome on german history called The German Genius before we moved there, loved that. Thanks for sharing! That’s exciting.

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  2. “Convene with gods, know alteration” – that is terrific. And those ending “We too…” lines. “reserve our love for violated things” – fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Q. Sorry for the delay. Have been terribly busy with academic stuff.
      You commenting means everything; it’s a marvellous indication that I did a good job.


    1. Rilke can sometimes be good. I think he once admitted it himself.
      Thank you, Warren. I’m happy I can still somehow captivate. It will remain surprising until I reach my Rilkean stage.


    1. I used to only publish lyrical poetry when I started publishing on WordPress some odd three years ago. I’ve since removed all that work. I don’t mind rhymes, much less do I mind reading them in others who can operate them adequately, but I’m not wired in such ways.
      The natural rhythm of English (and to a much bigger extent German) is not something I’m intimately attuned with. Perhaps if I lived immersed in English, I could develop the ear to truly apply its phonetic dimensions, but since I’m not, I must reduce myself to form. That’s only half of what rhyme is, isn’t it? Rhyme is also a flourish.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘From every shattering of any thing’ is just one of your lines – but it is goof example of the way you write – which seems to be from the sound – or feeling you have for linking words. You tend to dismiss grammar – perhaps as unworthy. I think grammar and syntax are important – unless you don’t wish to make sense with your poetry.

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    1. I do too! Part of my academic formation is as a linguist. I tend to break grammatical rules rather purposefully. If such rules of syntax and grammar (or a major adherence to them) is or isn’t worthy in this medium, is something for each of us to decide, of course, but your statement seems to imply that absence of grammar or syntax means absence of meaning, and that’s nothing but absurdity. Sense of absence is not the absence of sense. Art, and especially poetry, to me, is precisely the space where the rules of language must be indagated, explored and stretched. In fact, even you, Ken, said it is a “poem, not a speech.”, and that is a marvellous remark. One of the things that distinguish one from the other is precisely the liberties the former can take, which sacrifice clarity, and that the latter cannot, because it relies on clarity.
      A strict adherence or an orderly form can be just as perfused with meaning as a less conventional one, of course, but more often than not, what we see is cheap reactionary couplets made from a standpoint of native security. Even natives can sometimes wiggle themselves into interesting corners: a friend of mine, for example, was utterly convinced that among and amongst had (subtly) different meanings. This is not the case, but it is so with his experience with language. I, too, import meanings from my native Portuguese (and sometimes German) into English, and that can create a curious coalescence of interpretations.
      I hope I helped elucidate you about my choices, and if not, I’m sorry, but I can assure you that I’m very aware of how English grammar tends to operate.


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