Archaic Torso of Apollo|
We never knew his fantastic head,
lingers and shines. Else the prow of his breast
Else this stone would stand defaced and squat
and not from every edge explode
Archaischer Torso Apollos|
Wir kannten nicht sein unerhörtes Haupt,
sich hält und glänzt. Sonst könnte nicht der Bug
Sonst stünde dieser Stein enstellt und kurz
und brächte nicht aus allen seinen Rändern
Ursula K. Leguin, speaking of this poem, observed:
True myth may serve for thousands of years as an inexhaustible source of intellectual speculation, religious joy, ethical inquiry and artistic renewal. The real myth is not destroyed by reason. The fake one is. You look at it and it vanishes. You look at the Blond Hero - really look - and he turns into a gerbil. But you look at Apollo, and he looks back at you.(from "Myth and Archetype in Science Fiction", 1976; reprinted in The Language of the Night, 1989)
The poet Rilke looked at a statue of Apollo about fifty years ago, and Apollo spoke to him. 'You must change your life,' he said.
When the genuine myth rises into consciousness, that is always its message. You must change your life.