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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