Our poem for today’s Poetry Friday is from the poet Rainer Marie Rilke. Finding a poem that would fit our current bimonthly theme required a little bit more searching than usual. I am lucky that I have enough poetry books at home to find something. Today’s poem is aptly called The King. It is neither romantic or dreamlike. While I am not aware of the story behind this poem, I could only say it is quite critical of “The King” the poet was referring to and what seems to be his penchant for signing death warrants.
Thanks to Tara @ A Teaching Life for hosting today’s Poetry Friday.
By Rainer Marie Rilke
From The Rose Window and other verse from New Poems
The age of the King is sixteen years.
Sixteen, and already the state.
As though from an ambuscade he peers
Past where his grey councilors wait
Into the hall and some point therein,
And only feels, maybe,
Against his narrow, long, hard chin
The Fleece press chillingly.
Before him the death-warrant they submit
For long remains unsigned.
And they’re thinking: It plagues him sore.
They’d know, if they knew enough of his mind,
He’s but slowly counting to seventy before
Setting his hand to it.