“The Panther” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Black cat.
Black cat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    His weary glance, from passing by the bars,
    Has grown into a dazed and vacant stare;
    It seems to him there are a thousand bars
    And out beyond those bars the empty air.

    The pad of his strong feet, that ceaseless sound
    Of supple tread behind the iron bands,
    Is like a dance of strength circling around,
    While in the circle, stunned, a great will stands.

    But there are times the pupils of his eyes
    Dilate, the strong limbs stand alert, apart,
    Tense with the flood of visions that arise
    Only to sink and die within his heart.

“The Spanish Dancer” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Spanish Dancer

As a lit match first flickers in the hands
Before it flames, and darts out from all sides
Bright, twitching tongues, so, ringed by growing bands
Of spectators–she, quivering, glowing stands
Poised tensely for the dance–then forward glides

And suddenly becomes a flaming torch.
Her bright hair flames, her burning glances scorch,
And with a daring art at her command
Her whole robe blazes like a fire-brand
From which is stretched each naked arm, awake,
Gleaming and rattling like a frightened snake.

And then, as though the fire fainter grows,
She gathers up the flame–again it glows,
As with proud gesture and imperious air
She flings it to the earth; and it lies there
Furiously flickering and crackling still–
Then haughtily victorious, but with sweet
Swift smile of greeting, she puts forth her will
And stamps the flames out with her small firm feet.

“Madness” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Paula Modersohn-Becker. Rainer Maria Rilke, 1906
Paula Modersohn-Becker. Rainer Maria Rilke, 1906 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    She thinks: I am--Have you not seen?
    Who are you then, Marie?
    I am a Queen, I am a Queen!
    To your knee, to your knee!

    And then she weeps: I was--a child--
    Who were you then, Marie?
    Know you that I was no man's child,
    Poor and in rags--said she.

    And then a Princess I became
    To whom men bend their knees;
    To princes things are not the same
    As those a beggar sees.

    And those things which have made you great
    Came to you, tell me, when?
    One night, one night, one night quite late,
    Things became different then.

    I walked the lane which presently
    With strung chords seemed to bend;
    Then Marie became Melody
    And danced from end to end.

    The people watched with startled mien
    And passed with frightened glance
    For all know that only a Queen
    May dance in the lanes: dance!...

For April 1st: “In April” by Rainer Maria Rilke

"In April" 
Rainer Maria Rilke 

    Again the woods are odorous, the lark
    Lifts on upsoaring wings the heaven gray
    That hung above the tree-tops, veiled and dark,
    Where branches bare disclosed the empty day.

    After long rainy afternoons an hour
    Comes with its shafts of golden light and flings
    Them at the windows in a radiant shower,
    And rain drops beat the panes like timorous wings.

    Then all is still. The stones are crooned to sleep
    By the soft sound of rain that slowly dies;
    And cradled in the branches, hidden deep
    In each bright bud, a slumbering silence lies.

prunus serrulata, branches, leaves and blossoms