Monday, November 26, 2012

Prague Children. Rainer Maria Rilke. Poet from a Crucible.

Prague as Crucible for the Arts
Victorian, Edwardian Prague and Rainer Maria Rilke

Does a place of birth matter; its location may be no more than where the mother was.  Or does a place of birth start rolling a ball of influences, affecting parents, the child, in ways that only later emerge in full.  Rainer Maria Rilke is a poet, born in Prague in 1875, whose parents' conflicts and choices for his education left him reeling.  A poet-mind, put in court-achievement-status settings, and the military.  See bio at

Rilke resurfaces today in an unlikely place:  The National Geographic, May 2012, where a traveler with supposedly terminal disease, travels nonetheless and so, keeps himself alive -- he recalls lines of Rilke, see issue at  These lines must be in the public domain:

 "Ah the ball that we dared, that we hurled into infinite space, doesn't it fill our hands differently with its return: heavier by the weight of where it has been." 
That, from Cheating Death, by Edward Raedicker-Henderson. Article begins at page 105.
 Today, post-Victorian, post-Edwardian, we would leave out the Ah. What substitutes in 2012, for that Ah?  Go back to Beowulf.  Hwaet! No, too authoritarian.  How about Ommmmm.  Better, but too esoteric.  How about silence and simple hands clasped with straight fingers mated up, to get attention.  Better. Do we need sound? Focus. What does it.

The thought that follows, is what is the feeling when the ball hurled out, does not come back.  Must the hurler yearn for it, in order for it to come back?  What of mere curiosity:  I hurled that entity, that ball of whatever, off on its own into infinite space, for reasons that made sense at the time, balanced values at the time, but what happened to it. There is a yearning. Victorian-Edwardian concepts live in modern lives. Poetry: its own non-language.

Prague.  What if the parents had not been so divided in Prague, the one heading for the glory places, the other into stolid, dependable officer-school for the child.  What if the child had come to fruition early and recognized. Or did the experience of being hurled, as a poetry-child, into the military, and rejected by mother, create the genius. Ask.

Hurling.  Field hockey in the air --  a Celtic, Irish sport -- brutal, demanding.  See  Is that the experience of, say, the idea, the child, the ball hurled out there that does not come back.