Gratitude for Imagination -- Smack Dab in the Imagination by Dia Calhoun

"Daphne Becomes Laureate"

This Thanksgiving weekend I give thanks for a Rilke sonnet. It's one of the best expressions of  the artist's imagination I have ever read and inspired one of my own sculptures...Daphne Becomes Laureate, pictured here. The poem, the 12th Poem in the Second Series of Sonnets to Orpheus, is about the Greek myth of Daphne's pursuit by Apollo (crowned with laurel, the poet's god) and her transformation into her essential nature--tree.

Strive for transformation, O be inspired with the flame
Wherein, rich in changes, a thing withdraws from your reach;
The planning spirit who masters everything earthly,
Loves above all in the sweep of the figure the point where it turns.

What locks itself in endurance grows rigid; sheltered
in unassuming grayness, does it feel safe?
Wait, from the distance hardness is menaced by something still
Alas—: a remote hammer is poised to strike.

Knowledge knows him who pours forth as a spring;
Delighted she guides him, showing him what was created in joy
And often concludes with the beginning and starts with the end.

Every happy space they traverse in wonder
Is child or grandchild of parting. And Daphne, transformed,
feeling herself laurel, wants you to change into wind.

This is an unpublished translation in Art and the Creative Unconscious by Erich Neumann page 205. This Thanksgiving, may you all find gratitude for your own imaginations.

Dia Calhoun is an author and sculptor. For more about her sculpture work, click here