The Nacreous Oughts

24 July 2008

    Sonette an Orpheus, II. 29

Quiet friend of farflung furlongs, feel
how more & more your breathing swells the room.
Among the rafters of the gloomy belfry
let yourself toll. What takes its life from you
gathers to a greatness over this repast.
Embrace the transmutation,--there & back.
What's your most excruciating practice?
Does drinking twist your face? Turn into wine.
Be, tonight, out of overplus,
wizardry at your senses' intersecting;
of their weird conjunction make the sense.
Then, when all the homely round forgets,
to the sempiternal earth declare: I run.
To the rushing waters answer: I remain.

--Rainer Maria Rilke (my tr, 1987)

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