Rainer Maria Rilke: “Before the Summer Rain”

Before the Summer Rain

All at once, the greenness of the little park
is drained by a force you can’t explain.
You feel it arrive: pressed to the window pane
without a sound.  Urgent and stark,

the cries of birds on the woodland shore
remind you somehow of Saint Jerome:
to be so full of passion and yet so alone
sound as one voice now, as it starts to pour.

The walls of your room that were arrayed
with pictures fade into the gloom,
as if they no longer could hear the things we say.

The threadbare tapestries glint and play
in the vague light of the afternoon,
when, as a child, you felt so afraid.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Translated from German by Paul Weinfield, © 2013

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