The sonnets to Orpheus (part two, xii) by Rilke is about the universal idea of acceptance towards change and transformation. Rilke uses certain images to create new symbols in his poem.
In first stanza Rilke uses the flame to represent internal changes. That if a person wants a change he should be inspired by the flame. The way flame gives light to others , similarly a person should be doing such deeds that make him known and respectable, even after his death.
‘the curve of the body’ suggests flexibility. Only a person could transform if he has enough mental flexibility to accept a change. Like the artist loves curve of the body, similarly ‘The Artist’ i.e. God also loves the person who transforms himself into a better human being.
Rilke poses a question for readers that ‘is it safer to be gray and numb?’. Gray symbolizes old age. That means Rilke is asking us whether being old and devoid of emotion makes a personworth living or does that kind of life is of any worth. Ofcourse not. And rigidness in one’s pesonality can only destroy him. Like if we try to bend hard wood, it’ll break. Similarly a rigidness damages a person badly.
In third stanza Rilke suggests us to let all our goodness and positive energies flow out like a fountain. Like fountain flows in no definit shape, and has the ability to change its shape according to its surroundings, similarly a person should also change himself according to his surroundings and requirements. Since every start has an ending but it begins again when you determine to revive or renew your thoughts with positive approach.
In fourth stanza Rilke says that every happiness is a child of a seperation. Means when you change that change certainly brings happiness to you and that can only be possible if you separate your former being from you.
Wind symbolizes a possibility of change. Also wind represents spirit, which in psychological terms may be understood as an energy that can lift you from depression to joy or from mundane and material interests to a ‘higher’ (or deeper) level of conciousness.