You, Never-arriving One
You, never-arriving one, never-to-be-found sweetheart,
how can I know in advance
what songs will please you? Why go on
trying to recognize you in each moment's
surge of arrival? All the strongest
impressions I retain, the experience of distance's
landscapes, cities and towers and bridges, un—
suspected twists of the path
and that violence of the Gods
when they were creating these lands — all
take on their greatest significance in you;
and yet you still elude me.
Are these gardens not you?
I scan them with such hope! An open window
in a country lodge — and you, stepping out,
in a dwam, almost in front of me; streets
I wandered — you'd gone directly down them;
and sometimes shop mirrors, or market-traders',
still dizzy with you, were startled
by my too sudden image in them. Who knows whether
bird didn't sound the alarm through us,
separately, yesterday evening?
© Rainer Maria Rilke translated by Ian Crockatt