Black Cat by Rainer Maria Rilke

A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

photo: By Chris Yarzab / Flikr
Photo: By Chris Yarzab / Flikr

The superstitions that are linked to black cats have been portrayed by the poet, dark mysteries are related to black cats and the way the poet mentions seeing a reflection in the golden amber eyes represents the mysteries and perhaps evil tendencies which all humans have.

The twisting ending to the poem also leads people to interpret their own endings which is something many poets aim to do in their work.

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