To Lou Andreas-Salome

I held myself too open, I forgot
that outside not just things exist and animals
fully at ease in themselves, whose eyes
reach from their lives' roundedness no differently
than portraits do from frames; forgot that I
with all I did incessantly crammed
looks into myself; looks, opinion, curiosity.
Who knows: perhaps eyes form in space
and look on everywhere. Ah, only plunged toward you
does my face cease being on display, grows
into you and twines on darkly, endlessly,
into your sheltered heart.

As one puts a handkerchief before pent-in-breath-
no: as one presses it against a wound
out of which the whole of life, in a single gush,
wants to stream, I held you to me: I saw you
turn red from me. How could anyone express
what took place between us? We made up for everything
there was never time for. I matured strangely
in every impulse of unperformed youth,
and you, love, had wildest childhood over my heart.

Memory won't suffice here: from those moments
there must be layers of pure existence
on my being's floor, a precipitate
from that immensely overfilled solution.

For I don't think back; all that I am
stirs me because of you. I don't invent you
at sadly cooled-off places from which
you've gone away; even your not being there
is warm with you and more real and more
than a privation. Longing leads out too often
into vagueness. Why should I cast myself, when,
for all I know, your influence falls on me,
gently, like moonlight on a window seat.

Translated by A. Poulin

Poem topics: , , , , , , , ,

Rate this poem:

Add To Lou Andreas-Salome poem to your favorites

Add Poet Rainer Maria Rilke to your favorites

Popular Poets

Edith Nesbit (220 poems)
Stephen Hawes (4 poems)
Stéphane Mallarmé (64 poems)
Grace Fallow Norton (2 poems)
William Schwenck Gilbert (0 poems)
Joseph Campbell (3 poems)
Jocelyn Emerson (8 poems)
Cale Young Rice (7 poems)
George Petrie (2 poems)
Mathilde Blind (0 poems)

Popular Poems

Someone Is Harshly Coughing As Before, by Delmore Schwartz
The Lanes Of Apple Bloom, by Edgar Albert Guest
Ring The Bells, by Nannie R. Glass
Oh Sumptuous moment, by Emily Dickinson
The Letters, by Alfred Lord Tennyson
The Death Of Grandfather, by Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blok
The Reverend Simon Magus, by William Schwenck Gilbert
A Riddle, by William Cowper
She Touches A Sad String Of Soft Recall, by Sydney Thompson Dobell
At Hochfinstermuenz, by John L. Stoddard