Rilke worked for the sculptor Rodin. Rumour has it Rilke could not write and grew frustrated. Rodin suggested he go to the zoo, observe and see one of the animals clearly, and write about those observations. The result was this poem which described the essence, from Rilke’s point of view, of this magnificent, trapped animal, a metaphor, in some ways for the sometimes trapped human essence and creative seat.
We, as humans, pace behind the bars that we construct for ourselves and have to look inside for power that allows escape. Our spirits reveal the power and beauty where ultimate personal and collective meaning are. In the quiet and stillness of being fully present to ourselves, much is revealed. Otherwise, the cages and bars of our own making capture us and refuse to let us go.
From seeing the bars, his seeing is so exhausted
that it no longer holds anything anymore.
To him the world is bars, a hundred thousand
bars, and behind the bars, nothing.
The lithe swinging of that rhythmical easy stride
which circles down to the tiniest hub
is like a dance of energy around a point
in which a great will stands stunned and numb.
Only at times the curtains of the pupil rise
without a sound … then a shape enters,
slips through the tightened silence of the shoulders,
reaches the heart, and dies.
In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms.
I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders.
I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs.
I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry.
I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry.
I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.
I loved this poem in my German literature/poetry class!
It is a beautiful poem with such rich quality.
Thanks for posting!
You are welcome Kimberly.
A really heart wrenching poem. I see caged animals different now.
It reveals something of our soul and that helps understand the plight of a caged animal.
I became familiar with Rilke 1980’s. I liked it because it has imagery, depth and actually goes somewhere as opposed to the nonsense called contemporary poetry.
He is compared to Rumi and Hafiz for his spiritual depth.
Beautiful, but what a deeply sad chord it strikes.
It is both beautiful and sad that we should lock a magnificent creature like a panther and our soul up.
Absolutely – both should be free.
world seen through special eyes
It is. The veil comes down or goes up.
I love this metaphor… beautiful and so glad I came to see your blog… I hope we can enjoy each others journey awakening to who we truly are… and not living in our limited world… Barbara
Thank you for the stopping and commenting Barbara. I look forward to the journey.
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