Monday, February 20, 2012

The Swan

From the German of Rainer Maria Rilke

Misfortune, through the not yet gone
sways his crippled way, bound
like the gangly walk of swans.

And this stopping, this no longer fastened
every morning, to the firm ground
as he becomes so anxiously fallen—:

to the water, in which he slides with empathy
and into which, with clockwork and revery
he sends to both sides waves, float on float;

wearing an unending silence and acuity,
royal majesty gaining immensity,
on glass he glides his ermine coat.

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