Saturday, January 15, 2011

"You, Who Never Arrived" by Rainier Maria Rilke

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, seperate, in the evening...

Translated by Stephen Mitchell
I rewatched the movie "Only You", with a young Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr., which I first saw in the theatre with my ex-husband before he was even my husband and my wonderful friend, Shawn.  Anyway, this poem was in the movie, misquoted and misattributed, but I went in search of it.  It's just so beautiful.

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