22 March 2005

Another Rilke girl

[from The Sonnets to Orpheus, translated by Stephen Mitchell]


Dancing girl: transformation
of all transience into steps: how you offered it there.
And the arm-raised whirl at the end, that tree made of motion,
didn’t it fully possess the pivoted year?

Didn’t it, so that your previous swirling might swarm
in the midst of it, suddenly blossom with stillness? And above,
wasn’t it sunshine, wasn’t it summer, the warmth,
the pure, immeasurable warmth that you gave?

But it bore fruit also, it bore fruit, your tree of bliss.
Aren’t they here in their tranquil season: the jug,
whirling to ripeness, and the even more ripened vase?

And in the pictures: can’t we still see the drawing
which your eyebrow’s dark evanescent stroke
quickly inscribed on the surface of its own turning?

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