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.


Images © Brittany Schall


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, separate, in the evening...


Rainer Maria Rilke
You Who Never Arrived (as translated by Stephen Mitchell)