Poems – Rilke

What Survives

Who says that all must vanish?
Who knows, perhaps the flight
of the bird you wound remains,
and perhaps flowers survive
caresses in us, in their ground.

It isn’t the gesture that lasts,
but it dresses you again in gold
armor- from breast to knees-
and the battle was so pure
an Angel wears it after you.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
(From French poems:​ translated by A.Poulin, JR)

………….

We wax for waning.
Count, though, Time’s journeying
as but a little thing
in the Remaining.

End of unmeasured
hasting will soon begin;
only what’s leisured
leads us within.

Boys, don’t be drawn too far
into attempts at flight,
into mere swiftness- Look

how rested all things are:
shadow and fall of light,
blossom and book.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
From SONNETS TO ORPHEUS
Translated by J. B. Leishman