I do not resist the temptation to copy a verse from the Illuminations of Rimbaud I met some days ago:
“young mothers and big sisters with eyes full of pilgrimages”
This is why I love poetry. You are reading quietly and comfortably sitting on a sofa, and then -unnoticed- an unexpected visitor is there, right in front of you… “Eyes full of pilgrimages…” I’ve seen eyes as vacant as the seas, eyes full of darkness and light, revengeful, tearful, hopeful… But, thanks to this new light, I was left musing on my mother’s eyes, enthralled by their beauty. Who could tell the story of her pilgrimages under the Southern Cross?
A great example of phanopoeia.
O Trees of Life, when is your winter?
That’s the way Rilke chose to open the fourth of the Duino Elegies. I guess if you are able to write a verse like that one, you have already accomplished more than all the myriads of the pseudo-poets going around there…That includes me, of course!
Now, I think it is always interesting is to try to discover the reasons why this verse is great. The answer might lie precisely in the fact that the verse is great in English, in the original German or in whatever language you may translate it to. Its power lies not in rhyme or any other musical quality, but rather in the meaning of the words and the relation between the images those words convey.