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The Panther

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
Has grown so weary that it cannot hold
Anything else. It seems to him there are
A thousand bars and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
The movement of his powerful soft strides
Is like a ritual dance around a center
In which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
Lifts, quietly-. An image enters in,
Rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
Plunges into the heart and is gone.


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Poem The Panther - Rainer Maria Rilke
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