Rilke: Sonnets to Orpheus, Part 2, XII

I love Rilke and I was sent a lovely translation of this Sonnet to Orpheus by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy which seemed to capture all my recent musings on change and flux and the excitement of accepting both. Strangely, this sonnet is not in my Mitchell edition of Rilke but it seems miraculously Buddhist in sentiment, though perfectly Rilkean in construction.

As I was reading it I thought it might be nice to create a 4 dimensional quotation for the blog. Almost 6 hours later, here it is. Who would have thought something so simple looking would require such finessing. Though truth to tell I love the zone I get into while editing and never tire of watching the sequence back over and over.

The music is Rachmaninov’s 10th Prelude played by Vladimir Ashkenazy.



  1. rr

    March 12, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    [watches 4d quotation]

    [long pause]

    [realises has ceased respiration]

    sigh of utter entranced delight

  2. Lucy

    March 13, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Beautiful, Alistair, thanks for spending the six hours!
    And for being the spur for my finally getting into Rilke. I feel I need to explore different translations, a pleasure that still lies ahead…

  3. valerie w

    March 15, 2008 at 5:18 am

    very nice.

  4. alistair

    March 17, 2008 at 9:52 am

    I wonder if everyone can see this? It’s a quicktime file – so I had a sneaking suspicion that Windows users might not see it.
    Can you let me know?

  5. lori

    March 19, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    your sneaking suspicion is correct. How lamentable!

  6. RobbieG

    March 19, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    I am, alas, a Windows user, but I was able to view the
    film perfectly. It’s lovely and inspiring, as is this

    Makes me want to read some Rilke!

    Many thanks!


  7. lori

    March 23, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Were you? I still cannot. What is wrong with my
    I feel like a horrible, shlocky student, whom befall all
    the obstacles in this classroom.
    But.. the shlocky student is headed to the library to join the
    collective effort to read Rilke now.

  8. RobbieG

    March 24, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Lori,

    You’re definitely not horrible or shlocky! There’s such
    an abundance of technology lately, you almost have to
    consciously choose what to pay attention to — kind of
    like a pastry shop, but not as nice!

    If you have Windows XP, you can download a free copy
    of Quicktime at,

    Follow the instructions to download, and you’ll probably
    have a better experience if you have a computer less
    than, say, 7 years old (and preferably newer).

    Hope that works for you.. but if not, there’s always
    Rilke version 1.0, sitting quietly on a bookshelf at
    your local library!

    Have a warm, wonderful week.


  9. alistair

    March 24, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    Thanks Robbie,
    I was thinking about posting that plugin you need to make Windows play Quicktime – but you’ve done it for me.

  10. Vicky

    June 26, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    (if you forget the name “Christ”.. Sergej can tell you the
    second and the third part of this same story .. which
    you’ve begun to listen. Have trust in me.. the sounds
    are GREATER than any shape of imagined God.)

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