Rainer Maria Rilke -‘The Panther’


The Panther-Nov2017a1

‘The Panther’ … Pen & Wash – WHB: 2017

The Panther 

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly … An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

Rainer Maria Rilke

4 thoughts on “Rainer Maria Rilke -‘The Panther’

  1. Thank you Roland for introducing this poem by Rilke. I am very fond of his poetry and always liked one description; ‘ he wanted to reconcile beauty and suffering’.
    It came to mind whilst reading ‘The Panther’ – this beautiful animal suffering the loss of his life.

    ” Like a ritual dance around the centre
    in which the mighty will stand paralysed ”
    Says Rilke.
    I cannot bear t watch these big animals in cages and so many parks now give them space to roam. Still not sufficient – imprisonment will never be.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. An excellent poem Roland and thank you for the introduction to Rilke, I have not read any of his work. This poem demonstrates why animals should never be kept behind bars. As Miriam points out, things are getting better but still a long way to go. A good thought provoking start to the week. Thank you again.


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