Treasure Island

Rainer Maria Rilke

(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926 / Prague / Czech Republic)

Little Tear-Vase


Other vessels hold wine, other vessels hold oil
inside the hollowed-out vault circumscribed by their clay.
I, as smaller measure, and as the slimmest of all,
humbly hollow myself so that just a few tears can fill me.

Wine becomes richer, oil becomes clear, in its vessel.
What happens with tears?-They made me blind in my
glass,
made me heavy and made my curve iridescent,
made me brittle, and left me empty at last.


Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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