–Rainer Maria Rilke
Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.
You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you,
one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth,
leaving you, not really belonging to either,
not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs –
leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
your own life, timid and standing high and growing,
so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.
Evenings on your face
you’d place a bird
And you were no one but
The dead bird
With glass button-eyes
Naked masked face
of a dead bird
And your glass pearls
on the blood of your hands
Before them you danced
As they’d taught you
As they’d left you
I loved you
Dolled up humble half-dead
Prostitute with glass beads
Le soir sur ton visage
Tu mettais un oiseau
les ailes déployées
Et tu n’étais personne
que l’oiseau mort
aux yeux de verre
Nue la face masquée
D’un oiseau mort
Et des perles de verre
Sur le sang de tes mains
Tu dansais devant eux
Comme ils t’avaient appris
Comme ils t’avaient laissée
Parée humble demi-morte
Prostituée aux yeux de verre
Thinking of Elin.
On Foot I Had to Walk Through the Solar Systems
I had to walk through the solar systems,
before I found the first thread of my red dress,
Already, I sense myself.
Somewhere in space hangs my heart,
sparks fly from it, shaking the air,
to other reckless hearts.
fick jag gå genom solsystemen,
innan jag fann den första tråden av min röda dräkt.
Jag anar ren mig själv.
Någonstädes i rymden hänger mitt hjärta,
gnistor strömma ifrån det, skakande luften,
till andra måttlösa hjärtan.
You Are At Home Here
I study lungs. I go nowhere.
I gaze at the edge of white mountains. I want to die.
The path goes into money. Now I can occupy a calendar
of authority and give away the tent. They are twisted
into the song, the food, the sea. They are dressed
in white stories. He wasn’t hoarse, who didn’t know,
a stamp healed the window and the wound together.
The motive is beautiful. The elephant is bottomless.
It spins vases and the girls in them.
It spills itself on little cups, a coffee, an airplane
kneels in the overgrown grass. This isn’t my bread.
The bread is all yours. It adorns itself with claws.
Jump into the factory of rough flags
and stretch the edge. Fall asleep with the stretched edge.
An overcrowded territory
filled with clash of felines
with violent epidemics —
like an assault and battery of orchestras,
deafening my present tense;
holding piles of sorrows, thin stingy files of joys…
I could exhume myself from this noise.
What is this road that separates us
across which I hold out the hand of my thoughts
a flower written at the end of each finger
and the end of the road is a flower which walks with you
quel est ce chemin qui nous sépare
a travers lequel je tends la main de ma pensée
une fleur est écrite au bout de chaque doigt
et le bout du chemin est une fleur qui marche avec toi
You’re coming to me and I sing
of your non-return
From azure heights
from deep shadows
Why are you hastening
with your dying
through slow living
The earth has long absorbed
Deaf time is not awakened
even by love’s howling
The heart has forgotten you
only the wrinkles on my face
The Other Shore of the Sea
It is time, love, to break off the somber rose,
shut up the stars and bury the ash in the earth;
and, in the rising of the light, wake with
those awaking, or go in the dream, reaching the
other shore of the sea which has no other shore.