Saturday, March 26, 2011

The March Poem

Getting late in the month, so it's time I wrote the March poem. I've been writing a poem per month for over a year now, and a couple of my readers seem to really enjoy the work (I'm grateful for them!). I began this monthly-poem series as a way to simply keep alive in myself a way of using words and images that I have always taken great pleasure in. But for me the poetic instinct needs to be fanned now and then, or the flame dies out. Pleasure, believe it or not, is a big part of why I do this!

Anyway, not feeling particularly inspired, I decided to let the great German poet Rainer Maria Rilke fire up the receptors. This is almost a sure-fire way to prompt a poem. Just start with an image, or in this case a set of images, that someone else (in this case, Rilke) has used, and see where it takes you. Rilke, by the way, is one of my favorite poets, but he is strange and enigmatic and dream-like, so a poem inspired by Rilke will likely be the same.

The Rilke poem I used as my prompt was Annunciation (2). I think it's a very beautiful poem, very stirring. It's images stick with you. And this morning something about the feel of this poem reminded me of a few verses in the 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes (especially verse 6). So I put together some things from Rilke, and a little bit from Ecclesiastes, shook them all together, spread them on the table and let the light glint off them in new ways. That's how poems often work for me. The words are not intended to "mean" in the common sense, but maybe to glint with light from levels deeper than words can go.

Anyway,here it is. I guess I'll call it "A Love Story: After Rilke"

I was the ear your song
was seeking, and I was the gate
you entered secretly.

Mine were the leaves
your breezes stirred, and yours
was the dream my tossing sleep disturbed.


I stood on the ramparts and listened for
your fractal music.

I opened all my windows
to your incandescent rain.


And now, the broken pitcher by the well
is mended,

and the wheel once shattered turns again,
as it was long intended.


When the leaves are stirred,
the dreamer wakes,

and when the dreamer wakes
the unheard music sings
in his sleeping ears.


Erin Hope said...


I love rilke. But unfortunately I got his ' book of hours' from the library and haven't seen it since one day at work, ....and can't seem to find it anywhere. maybe someone else likes it as much as me. :)

anyway, it's a good poem, thanks for sharing!

Bob Spencer said...

Thanks, Erin. If you haven't yet, you should check out the blog called A Year with Rilke (on my sidebar). Lots of great poetry there!

Glynn said...

This is lovely, Bob. You should more poetry. And share it with us.

nance marie said...

yes, i do really enjoy the work.
thank you for sharing it.

Bob Spencer said...

Thanks, Glynn and nance. Yes, I should write more poetry I think. And if I do, I promise I'll share it!