Rilke is a famous German poet who has modernized poetry. His poems are intensely subjective and poetically lyrical. He has written on many topics such as religion, elegies, nature, and love.
‘I find you Lord in all things and in all, in a tiny seed and you sleep in the small’. This is a beautiful metaphorical comparison. God is placed inside a little seed. We can also look at this metaphor from the Bible. For example: if you have faith like a mustard seed. ‘ God sleeps in the seed and makes it grow and flourish.
“A wonderful game where power gropes at the roots and thickens in the trunks and treetops as if rising from the dead.” Here power is compared to the resurrection of the dead. Rilke may be meddling in religion. It is true in Christianity that the dead will rise and rise. Tree roots and trunks are considered to have been resurrected.
A simile used by Rilke is: “a star that shines like a white city”. This is a beautiful comparison, so moving with richness and depth of thought.
‘Sir, it’s time; The great summer has passed, now overlap the sundials with your shadows. ‘ Here Rilke makes a reference to the presence of God with the temporality of the spaces of time.
‘The sky puts on the blue coat that darkens.’ This is a beautiful metaphor that suggests the end of the afternoon and the arrival of night.
“Every morning when the sunlight comes into your house, you welcome it like a friend.” Rilke is using impersonation. Sunlight is represented in anthropomorphic terms.
‘Blood is the hardest, hard as stone.’ The metaphor shows that humans are cold-blooded and have no feelings that are human.
‘My soul has no garden, no sun in it hangs from my twisted skeleton and terrified flaps its wings.’ Here Rilke uses multiple metaphors to highlight the anguish of the body. There is no garden of beauty in the soul; there is no bright sun on Rilke’s body. Through this metaphor, Rilke highlights the pathos of the human body.
‘My hands are of little use; they are like toads after the rain ”. All its characteristics pass in simile ‘. Here Rilke is talking about a dwarf. The simile as toads in the rain is puzzling and I think it is incongruous.
“Yet totally images like the ark of God.” The ark of God refers to the tabernacle of God. It may be a simile that refers to the purity of the body.
“Spinning faster and faster, she fans her dress in passionate flames from which, like frightened rat snakes, long bare arms uncoil.” Here Rilke refers to a dancer. The comparison is interesting. Her dress is like flames and her arms like rat-snakes.
It felt like his senses were split in two; his sight ran ahead of him like a dog. ” This simile is outlandish. Does Rilke mean you can see quickly?
“He had acquired a new virginity and was untouchable; her sex had closed like a young flower in the evening. ‘ The comparison, a simile between the girl and the flower, is interesting.
“We cannot know his legendary head with eyes like ripe fruits and yet his torso is still bathed in glow from within like a lamp.” Here Rilke is doing similes about the god Apollo. The eyes are bright and dazzling. Apollo’s torso is compared to a glowing lamp.
‘A screech, envy shakes the parrot cage.’ Here Rilke is using the figure of speech called personification.
“The gravity of an old discontent has dragged you into a measurable time; this often brings me out of a dreamless sleep at night, like a thief climbing on my window.” Here the comparison between sleeping and being a thief is confusing. The simile is not without sensitivity.
‘Beloved, you are all the gardens I have ever seen.’ This metaphor is similar to King Solomon’s romantic verses, the Song of Songs.