Poem

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

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