Saturday, December 26, 2009

Relived Events

But what shall I dedicate to you, master, say,
Who taught the creatures their ear?
My memory of a day in spring,
Its evening in Russia, a horse. . .

Across from the village came the white horse alone,
On one fore fetlock the hobble,
To be alone for the night on the meadows;
How his shock of mane beat

On his neck in time with his high-mettled spirit,
In that rudely obstructed gallop.
How the springs of his steed’s blood leap!

That horse felt the distances, and how
He sang and heard! ─ Your cycle of myths
Was closed in him.

His image ─ I dedicate.

That work is Sonnet 20, from Rilke’s 1922 Sonnet To Orpheus, First Part. Rilke had just finished Duino Elegies that year. He wrote a letter to his love Lou Andreas-Salome reminding her of an 1899 experience they had in Russia when a white horse with a bad hoof came running toward them on a Volga meadow. The horse made such an internal impression on Rilke he used it as a metaphor in the Sonnet. He dedicated that experience to God; it was an offering of joy and appreciation that came back to him every time he thought of the horse.

What Rilke is describing is appreciation for experiences that are lived over and over again in physical life. We choose to relive events, as well as important happenings and then put them in a section of our body consciousness for reference. We use this storage as recall, and make an association with a present experience, and it becomes familiar to us. When there isn’t any experience to reference in body consciousness, our current experience is an unknown. Unknowns create fear or more separation.

Rilke’s point is to dedicate those unknown experiences to God. Rilke uses his Religious beliefs, but Rilke’s God, as he describes it in many of his poems, is within him. So he is dedicating each experience to the one who created them. The God within his consciousness is the benefactor and he senses the emotional connection to that experience. Appreciation of each experience is the association and lesson from Rilke’s work.

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