Rainer Maria Rilke

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

The Sonnets To Orpheus: Book 2: I Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke


Breathing: you invisible poem! Complete
interchange of our own
essence with world-space. You counterweight
in which I rythmically happen.

Single wave-motion whose
gradual sea I am:
you, most inclusive of all our possible seas-
space has grown warm.

How many regions in space have already been
inside me. There are winds that seem like
my wandering son.

Do you recognize me, air, full of places I once absorbed?
You who were the smooth bark,
roundness, and leaf of my words.


Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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