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Rewrapping Rilke's (defective) Gift

         “Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being
    something helpless that wants help from us.”
    ---Rainer Maria Rilke

Perhaps every one is terrible
in their deepest being
hidden and too helpless
to ask to be opened

7 Dec 05

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people so lost in their own despair they don't even know to get out, won't act on their instincts or thoughts, but caught in "what everybody else is doing."
Do you want a period at the end to make it more gramatical?
 — delfinkay

Wow, this is interesting!
 — Isabelle5

I'm wondering if two lines might suit your purpose better. I like this terribly.
 — graceinmtl

Do you want every 1 or everyone?

Me thinks that listing the original helps not the wonton slaughter of it, but then that is up to you.
 — unknown

-unsure whether to have "its" or 'there' in L2.
-the splitting of "everyone" may be an ineffective (distracting) tactic to emphasize the alone-ness of the sufferer.   more votes on that please?
-if I cojoin "everyone" again, then I must for sure have "their" in L2, yes?

The verse was made in thinking Rilke's observation was not so well put, really. Because "everything" must include natural disasters and such, that are not really "terrible"; inanimates cannot "want help".  That Rilke says "being", means then, people.   The verse attempts to address.

thanks for these helps.  new ideas come with every input.  Thanks so much, reid
 — netskyIam

L2 -  their deepest being
L4 - to ask to be seen
I like this it reminds of one of my favourite psychological novelists Keith Ablow, who's main character, Frank Clevenger, often notes "There is no original Evil"
 — hobby

thanks hobby.  I've put "their" back in place of "its".  Hesitating to alter "opened" to your better "seen", only because "opened" refers to the title; this repackaging (sort of) of Rilke's "gift" of thought.    Hmmm... if any more votes come in, in favor of "seen" then I may well alter L4 as suggested.  Thanks to all.
 — netskyIam

– graceinmtl "I'm wondering if two lines might suit your purpose better."

well, let's look at that:

Perhaps everyone is terrible in their deepest being
hidden and too helpless to ask to be opened.

---dunno. that seems OK too.  as to the favor of four lines, the breaks enforce slower reading (i think), plus "being" takes on a double meaning: entity and a-state-of.   hmmm.  so does that duplexing obtain so well if the item is made into a two-liner? dunno. not sure.  thanks, reid
 — netskyIam

nestskyIam, first two lines – excellent - and upon reflection I think 'opened' is quite appropriate.
 — hobby

you've taken a lie (though a very common theory) and with a few simple relocations, made it much more honest.
 — mwalkerd

Dear – mwalkerd, yes you know, that's why I did this: the Rilke quote was put on a poetry board and elevated as if it were some perfect wonder of thought.  I felt it was and is quite defective in expression.  This is why I would "slaughter' it in a practical reinterpretation, runnning it out in the simplest, most human-identifiable terms.

  A re-setting to gain what I think is it's only useful feature.  "thing--its" would include animals and forces of nature.  Such 'things' cannot reflect or have hidden personal torments, not really... unless we include acquired phobias in animals such as domestic pets or shy horses, etc.

   Dunno why Rilke would put the pretext,  in that poor way,  of such variable, debatable meaning.   Thought should always be crystal clear in small quotes or tiny verse like this.  That is my aim, anyway.  Thank you for your sensitve guidances, you and all readers/collaborators here.   reid
 — netskyIam

'Do you want every 1 or everyone?'
That is a great question.  We know that 'everyone' is a conjoinment, and as such, in usage today, "everyone" tends to make a grouping, singular.  If I retain the present form: 'every one', then this takes care of the need to set apart the hypothetical sufferer from the group (as is the sufferer's condition, he/she -thinks).   Clear as mud?  yeah, oh well.
Quote cont:
"Me thinks that listing the original helps not the wonton slaughter of it, but then that is up to you.
– unknown "

The item is made to directly contrast with this (defective) proposition of Rilke's.   The  verse was first applied to a "challenge" thread, where the stipulated theme was a photograph of a gift wrapped box (ribbon and bow thing).  "make the poem relate to the picture."   So that's why the title is as it is.

I think, now that I'm feeling groaty about this item, I'll revise the title and call it "Rewrapping Rilke's (defective) Gift".   That'll be a poke for sure.  A deserved one.

And the "perhaps" of L1 is well chosen by Rilke, and is agreed-with by myself as well.  Always qualify; never blanket or it becomes a lecture without supporting thesis.
oops!  I did I just lecture in the last sentence.  I did!  Wrap me in foil and toss out with the fish. ha.
 — netskyIam

I disagree with what's been done with Rilke's words here.  First, I have not read this in the original German but the word everything is likely "alle" or some variation which means "all things" AND "all people", and it is deficient to think that being means people and things do not have being, "deep being".  Perhaps Rilke meant that things need our help not just for their own sake but for ours as well.  You have lost this meaning.  You have lost also the possibility that when helpless people are terrible we begin to see them as things.  Rilke's words tend to humanize existence, make BEING important! Yours tend to center existence on the ISOLATED human, I prefer Rilke's sentiment.
 — unknown

really cool!
 — unknown

here is another Rilke quote I especially like:
"a life that has been shattered
can only be told in fragments."
 — slancho

Hmm, I will have to go with the next to last unknown.  Yes, Rilke's words do tend to humanize existence ... something interesting to think about when trying to represent, paraphrase, capture this sentiment in four lines
I think Rilke's intention here (if one can talk of one apart from the reader), is less centered on the individual human being ... I would stay away from statement such as "perhaps every one is terrible."  Rilke himself thought there was not absolute poem and I think your rendition of his words goes a bit too far in that direction.  The anthropocentricity of your interpretation, the sense of agency ... somehow fails me
Thank you
 — slancho