The Song the Dwarf Sings

Rilke, Rainer Maria

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Donley, Carol
  • Date of entry: May-23-1996


This sad poem, in the dwarf’s voice, describes the pain of having "crooked blood" and hands that "hop around sluggishly / like toads after a rain." The dwarf wonders why God doesn’t just throw him out on the dump because his body is so distorted and worn out.


The dwarf begins by pondering whether his soul is "upright and OK," though his body is crooked and bent. "My soul has no place to walk in, no place to lie" he says, because "it catches onto my sharp skeleton / with a terrified beating of wings." The soul is trapped and alarmed by his body. There seems to be no way to overcome this distress except death.

Primary Source

Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke


Harper & Row: Perennial

Place Published

New York




Robert Bly