The Sonnets To Orpheus: Book 2: Xiii (Be Ahead of All Parting) by Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Be ahead of all parting, as though it already were
behind you, like the winter that has just gone by.
For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter
that only by wintering through it all will your heart survive.

Be forever dead in Eurydice-more gladly arise
into the seamless life proclaimed in your song.
Here, in the realm of decline, among momentary days,
be the crystal cup that shattered even as it rang.

Be-and yet know the great void where all things begin,
the infinite source of your own most intense vibration,
so that, this once, you may give it your perfect assent.

To all that is used-up, and to all the muffled and dumb
creatures in the world's full reserve, the unsayable sums,
joyfully add yourself, and cancel the count.


Translated by Stephen Mitchell 

This poem (which is also known as “The Sonnets To Orpheus: Book 2: Xiii”) comes from The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke: Bilingual Edition (English and German Edition). Click here to purchase.

To learn more about Rainer Maria Rilke, visit his page on the Poetry Foudation’s website by clicking here.

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