Rainer Maria Rilke: “Memory”


And still you wait, expecting one thing alone
that your life could endlessly renew,
some great and singular thing to be shown,
something like the awakening of a stone,
some secret depth, returning to you.

Your books shine upon their stands
in volumes of brown and gold,
and you think of all the traveled lands,
the images and tattered strands
of all the women you could not hold.

And suddenly you realize: there’s nothing there.
You rise to your feet, and before you appear
the fear and form and empty prayer
of the absence of another year.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Translated from German by Paul Weinfield, © 2014

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