Thursday, January 10, 2008

You who never arrived

You who never arrived in my arms,
Beloved, who were lost from the start,
I don't even know what songs would please you.
I have given up trying to recognize you
in the surging wave of the next moment.
All the immense images in me- the far-off,
deeply-felt landscape,cities, towers, and bridges,
and unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were
once pulsing with the life of the gods-
all rise within me to mean you, who forever elude me.
You, Beloved, who are
all the gardens I have ever gazed at,longing.
An open window in a country house-,
and you almost stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,-
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors were still dizzy with your presence and,
startled,gave back my too-sudden image.
Who knows?perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening...

Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

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