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It was rainy the day we walked up the hillside
To the poet’s grave
American students
With no fine appreciation of the great man
Not entirely clear
about why we were climbing the sodden hill
Dark trees cresting the dreary summit
Grass silvered with the fallen rain
When we got there we realized
It wasn’t even the great man
Buried there on the steep hillside
But his parents
The poet’s grave was too far
For a day trip
No romantic solitude for Austria’s most celebrated poet
So we gazed at the wet-slicked gravestone
Admirable by proxy

NaPoWriMo #28 and response
to the dVerse prompt of 4/28/20: a virtual trip

13 thoughts on “Visiting Rilke’s grave

  1. Loving these words “Grass silvered with the fallen rain” — to me they are so aptly said. I can picture this grass. And the ending of the poem is perfect!

  2. You described the walk up the “sodden hill” eloquently. I was not familiar with this poet, so checked out a couple poems, which I liked very much. Thanks !

  3. Your title grabbed my attention, Xan! Rilke has been a favourite poet of mine since schooldays – I won a prize with a project I wrote about him, including translations of some of his poems. I’ve never visited his grave, although I’ve been to Austria many times. I love the descriptive detail of the ‘Dark trees cresting the dreary summit / Grass silvered with the fallen rain’. Such a shame you didn’t get to see his grave.

    • The background here is that I apparently repressed the memory that it was his parents, not him. Just found out when I wrote this and went online looking for a picture of that beautiful mountainside, saw that he was buried in Switzerland, and dug out my old student journals.

  4. Pingback: Visiting Rilke’s Grave | Xanku

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