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« Discours d'ouverture du Congrès littéraire international | Main | A History of Violence »

Rilke, "Fortgehn"

A work ("Going out") by this Austrian poet. You can read the original here.

And suddenly to brave grey air's alee,  
With melted eyes, now hot and soft, 
To gaze upon what is aloft:

Oh no, all this is merely simile.  

You are the water's flow, are why it is. 
At your appearance this town woke;   
In pleasing grace the bridges cloak   
The measure of their steady services. 

Because these thoughts' invention merely means: 
You, it is you, is like the earth;  
The gardens stand in darkling mirth;  
Momentous shapes now haunt these distant scenes.  

Yet nonetheless, now nonetheless anew 
It comes: the pain, first moment's pain.   
It was still there, ebbed once or flew  
Away, or was like songs we knew
Of fates unspeakable, of lives in vain.   

What if (Is it my place then to inquire?)  
You saw, those eyes, the clothes' smooth hem,     
A face, a gleam, a diadem,  
As if those eyes would – well, what then:
The Canal Grande, fair and free,
In its great time, before the fire;
And suddenly this Venice ceased to be.    

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