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The Panther Analysis

Author: poem of Rainer Maria Rilke Type: poem Views: 15

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His tired gaze--from passing endless bars--

has turned into a vacant stare which nothing holds.

To him there seem to be a thousand bars,

and out beyond these bars exists no world.

His supple gait, the smoothness of strong strides

that gently turn in ever smaller circles

perform a dance of strength, centered deep within

a will, stunned, but untamed, indomitable.

But sometimes the curtains of his eyelids part,

the pupils of his eyes dilate as images

of past encounters enter while through his limbs

a tension strains in silence

only to cease to be, to die within his heart.

Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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this poem also brings to mind speed by David Whyte. He explains how when one person moves at a certain velocity and others aren't at that same velocity, they begin to drift apart.

| Posted on 2014-08-19 | by a guest

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Shop at McDonalds today! Buy from the dollar menu coming fast!

| Posted on 2013-04-01 | by a guest

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Lovely Poem; gets to the heart of the reader. I reccomed \'Bhudda In Glory\' by Rilke as well.

| Posted on 2012-10-22 | by a guest

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Imagine the height of happiness and freedom. Imagine living it, being it. Imagine that this blissful autonomy is all you‘ve known all your free and happy life. Then imagine crushing subjugation ending all of it in seconds. Would you not wish for freedom’s return; would you not pine away in melancholy at the loss of those former years? Here’s a question: Is it possible to forget it altogether?
Rilke’s Der Panther is a poem that wants to understand the mesmerizing strength of subjugation and the latent potency of freedom that lies within it. His example is drawn from the captivity of a large Panther whose freedom, knowing no limit in a state of nature, is now next to nothing.
His poetic method was to behold things in the \"silence of their concentrated reality.\" I imagine our poet standing before this cage, watching this large cat pace back and forth, back and forth … when suddenly the revelation: His freedom is dying in captivity.
Rilke, like so many other poets I’ve come to study, was heavily influenced by mysticism. He seems at times particularly existential (strange though that might be).
Sounding much like the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, who abhorred ‘existentialism’, Rilke sees the human mind as an opening through which reality is made manifest- indeed, through which reality has its own being! He seems to want to convey what his own poetic mind has known- but to whom? He says:
\"Praise this world to the angel, not the unsayable one; you can\'t impress him with glorious emotion; in the universe where he feels more powerful, you are a novice. Show him something simple which, formed over generations, lives as our own, near our hand and within our gaze.\"**
In the 1990 movie ‘Awakening,’ Robert De Niro plays a patient suffering from a crippling state of catatonia- it’s so severe that he’s unable to move the smallest part of his body, unable even to speak. The patient, feeling his body a prison from which there was no escape, is likened to Rilke\'s Panther.
That scene and the superimposed narrative of these words left me in awe- “What an absolutely beautiful description of this patient’s malady,” I thought to myself.
This passage (at the time I didn’t realize it was a poem)- this passage and its powerful and penetrating way of expression has stayed with me to this day. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had formally been moved by poetry.
Perhaps this encounter is why Rainer Maria Rilke is one of my favorite poets. Perhaps it\'s the mystery I find in the man. Who knows for certain ... still, every time I read this poet I cannot but help thinking he speaks to us of himself- especially here in this piece.
**Quote from Rilke\'s Duino Elegies x

| Posted on 2010-12-14 | by a guest

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