Fortschritt (Progress)

Und wieder rauscht mein tiefes Leben lauter,
als ob es jetzt in breitern Ufern ginge.
Immer verwandter werden mir die Dinge
und alle Bilder immer angeschauter.
Dem Namenlosen fühl ich mich vertrauter:
Mit meinen Sinnen, wie mit Vögeln, reiche
ich in die windigen Himmel aus der Eiche,
und in den abgebrochnen Tag der Teiche
sinkt, wie auf Fischen stehend, mein Gefühl.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

(And once again the depths of my life rush onward,
as if they were moving in wider channels now.
Things are becoming more close to me
and all images more thoroughly looked upon.
I feel more comfortable with that which is nameless,:
With my senses, as with birds, I reach up
into the windy heavens out of the oak,
and in those pools broken off from the day,
my feeling, as if standing on fishes, descends.)


This is one of my favourite poems because it deals with the progress of life. Nothing remains the same, everything changes all the time whether we can see it or not. The narrator starts looking at the objects of his environment with different eyes. Was first was unknown, now feels very familiar. But he also makes sure that progress is a bit beyond that:  change is not limited to the external world,  it comes from within!

Moreover, I chose “Fortschritt” by Rainer Maria Rilke because I think the content seizes the underlying idea of a stop motion film.  STOP. MOTION. Isn’t it a contradiction in terms? Can something static be in motion? The weakness of our eyes makes it possible.  However, you can find such contraries in the poem, too. Can our feelings descend in pools broken off from the day?? Well, the strength of our imagination makes it possible!

While I was reading the poem, the image of a bridge came into my mind. On the one hand it demonstrates progress, and on the one hand it shows  that change doesn’t only mean to construct a monument stone by stone.  A bridge has to be built up from two sides, so it is a symbol of cooperation and team work in order to put up something very persistent.

“Nothing is more constant than change.” I really like this saying as it indicates that the only thing we should get used to is change itself. Nothing lasts forever, as soon as one process ends another one starts.  It’s another oxymoron that represents the deeper meaning of this poem!


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2 responses to “Fortschritt (Progress)

  1. Pingback: Friday, July 13: Rilke, Dudley, Gilka Machado and more | ||8ve: the parallel octave chorus

  2. Pingback: Sounds from July 13 | ||8ve: the parallel octave chorus

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