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The Sonnets To Orpheus: Book 2: VI Analysis



Author: poem of Rainer Maria Rilke Type: poem Views: 7

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Rose, you majesty-once, to the ancients, you were

just a calyx with the simplest of rims.

But for us, you are the full, the numberless flower,

the inexhaustible countenance.



In your wealth you seem to be wearing gown upon gown

upon a body of nothing but light;

yet each seperate petal is at the same time the negation

of all clothing and the refusal of it.



Your fragrance has been calling its sweetest names

in our direction, for hundreds of years;

suddenly it hangs in the air like fame.



Even so, we have never known what to call it; we guess...

And memory is filled with it unawares

which we prayed for from hours that belong to us.





Translated by Stephen Mitchell






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