Classic and Contemporary Poetry
SPANISH DANCER, by RAINER MARIA RILKE Poet's Biography
First Line: As in one's hand a sulphur-match burns white
Last Line: And stamps it out with little furious feet.
Subject(s): Dancing & Dancers
As in one's hand a sulphur-match burns white
before it flames, and giddily unfurls
its thrusting tongues:thus circling in the sight
of crowding watchers, hurried, hot and bright
her round dance spreads in white and widening whirls.
And suddenly it is sheer flame and flare.
Then with her glance she kindles her tossed hair
and with more daring artistry, leaps higher
and wheels her vesture in this passion of fire,
whence her bare arms, each like a startled snake,
stretch sinuously rattling and awake.
And then: as though the fire were strangling stuff,
she gathers it together,flings it off
with one imperious gesture, her proud eyes
watching: where raging on the ground it lies,
and keeps on flaming, nor submits, a-spin.
Yet certain and triumphant, with a sweet
and gracious smile, she lifts her perfect chin
and stamps it out with little furious feet.
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