Poem: The Silence

Listen, love, I lift my hands–
listen: there’s a rustling…
What gesture of those all alone
might not be eavesdropped on by many things?
Listen, love, I close my eyes,
and even that makes sounds to reach you.
Listen, love, I open them…
… but why are you not here?

The imprint of my smallest motion
remains visible in the silken silence;
indestructibly the least excitement
is stamped into the distance’s taut curtain.
On my breathing the stars
rise and set.
At my lips fragrances come to drink,
and I recognize the wrists
of distant angels.
Only her of whom I think: You
I cannot see.

-Rainer Maria Rilke
from “The Book of Images”


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