Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

From "The Third Duino Elegy" (Rilke)

It is one thing to sing the beloved. Another, alas,
to invoke that hidden, guilty river-god of the blood.
Her young lover, whom she knows from far away -- what does he know of
the lord of desire who often, up from the depths of his solitude,
even before she could soothe him, and as though she didn't exist,
held up his head, ah, dripping with the unknown,
erect, and summoned the night to an endless uproar.
Oh the Neptune in our blood, with his appalling trident.
Oh the dark wind from his breast out of that spiralled conch.
Listen to the night as it makes itself hollow. O stars,
isn't it form you that the lover's desire for the face
of his beloved arises? Doesn't his secret insight
into her pure features come from the pure constellations? ...

-- transl. Stephen Mitchell


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