You Who Never Arrived
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved,
you 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 deeply felt
faraway landscape, cities, towers, bridges,
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 who are all the gardens
I have ever gazed at.
An open window in a country house –
and you almost stepped out 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, separate, in the evening . . .