"The person who has not, in a moment of firm resolve, accepted—yes even rejoiced in—what has struck him with terror—he has never taken possession of the full, ineffable power of our existence. He withdraws to the edge; when things play out, he will be neither alive nor dead.
To discover the unity of dread and bliss, these two faces of the same divinity (indeed, they reveal themselves as a single face that presents itself differently according to the way in which we see it): that is the essential meaning and theme of both my books (The Sonnets to Orpheus and The Duino Elegies).
—Rainer Maria Rilke
Awake, thirsty, hungry, I fly
from parchment nest through woods
to the porch where I feasted last night
on shreds of barbecued chicken thigh.
Seeking, now, a morning meal
I blunder heedlessly, hapless
into sticky woven threads
strung between porch and post
both wings held fast—web sways
who’s this? wrapping me, spinning me
swaddling me tight in silky sheets
bound, secure, attentively embraced
her mouthpart—painless—a spider’s kiss
i liquify, am drunk, a dreadful bliss.
You can listen to this sonnet here:
Wasp Dreams by Dan Gurney