Never has the poet Rainer Maria Rilke been so fucking metal. When I spotted this one on a quarantine walk, I half convinced myself that I needed "Beauty + Terror" tatted across my neck, a constant reminder of how those two concepts are tethered to one another. This mural is brought to you by Seattle-based artist Anne Siems; the work is her first-ever mural, which she adapted from a much smaller previous painting of hers. I love the flatness of the figure's bright orange hair against the swirly, wormy brown backdrop of the piece.
Follow Siems here if you're interested in looking at more of her work. And I'd strongly encourage you to read Rilke's poem in full, which comes to us from The Book of Hours originally published in 1905. While the "beauty and terror" line is beautiful, my favorite line is the one just after it: "Just keep going. No feeling is final." No feeling is final—how's that for a neck tatt?
The poem, below:
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.