31 March 2005

From Duino Elegies: The Fifth Elegy
by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by A. Poulin, Jr.

You, who fall a hundred times
a day, with the thud only green fruit
know, out of that tree rising from
a cooperation of motion (rushing faster than water
through autumn, spring, and summer in minutes)—
you fall and bounce on the grace:
sometimes, half pausing, you feel a look
of love for your seldom tender mother
surge up to your face; then it loses itself
in your body whose surface quickly absorbs that rippling,
shy, barely tried expression . . . And again
the man’s hands are clapping for that leaping;
and before a pain has gotten near
your ever galloping heart, the burning
in the soles of your feet arrives ahead of
its own spring, chasing a few live
tears into your eyes. And yet,
your blind smile . . .

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