Rainer Maria Rilke Poems

Rainer Maria Rilke was born René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke in 1875 in Prague. He is one of the best-known German-language poets, publishing several collections of poetry, and one novel, during his lifetime.

Archaic Torso of Apollo

by Rainer Maria Rilke

‘Archaic Torso of Apollo’ by Rainer Maria Rilke details the remaining beauty and power of a damage sculpture missing its head and legs.

Rilke was a highly influential poet in the 20th century, known for his introspective and philosophical works. He was a master of form and language, and his poetry is characterized by its emotional depth and vivid imagery. This poem about art is one of his best-known and certainly one of the best poems about art.

We cannot know his legendary head

with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso

is still suffused with brilliance from inside,

like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

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