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To Lou Andreas-Salome Analysis

Author: poem of Rainer Maria Rilke Type: poem Views: 8

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I held myself too open, I forgot

that outside not just things exist and animals

fully at ease in themselves, whose eyes

reach from their lives' roundedness no differently

than portraits do from frames; forgot that I

with all I did incessantly crammed

looks into myself; looks, opinion, curiosity.

Who knows: perhaps eyes form in space

and look on everywhere. Ah, only plunged toward you

does my face cease being on display, grows

into you and twines on darkly, endlessly,

into your sheltered heart.

As one puts a handkerchief before pent-in-breath-

no: as one presses it against a wound

out of which the whole of life, in a single gush,

wants to stream, I held you to me: I saw you

turn red from me. How could anyone express

what took place between us? We made up for everything

there was never time for. I matured strangely

in every impulse of unperformed youth,

and you, love, had wildest childhood over my heart.

Memory won't suffice here: from those moments

there must be layers of pure existence

on my being's floor, a precipitate

from that immensely overfilled solution.

For I don't think back; all that I am

stirs me because of you. I don't invent you

at sadly cooled-off places from which

you've gone away; even your not being there

is warm with you and more real and more

than a privation. Longing leads out too often

into vagueness. Why should I cast myself, when,

for all I know, your influence falls on me,

gently, like moonlight on a window seat.

Translated by A. Poulin


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