29 June 2007

from The Seventh Elegy

It is breathtaking simply to be here. Girls, even you
knew, who seemed so deprived, so reduced, who became
sewers yourselves, festering in the awful alleys of the city.
For each of you had an hour, perhaps a bit less,
at worst a scarcely measurable span between while and while,
when you wholly were. Had all. Were bursting with Being.
But we easily forget what our laughing neighbor
neither confirms nor envies. We want to show it off,
yet the most apparent joy reveals itself only after
it has been transformed, when it rises within us.
    My love, the world exists nowhere but within us.
Withinwarding is everything. The outer world
dwindles, and day fades from day. Where once
a solid house was, soon some invented structure
perversely suggests itself, as at ease among ideas
as if it still stood in the brain.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies
translated by William Gass

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