You, My Love, Who Were Lost
You, my love, who were lost
from the start, who never arrived,
I do not know which melodies would please you.
I no longer try to find you in the surge
of each coming moment. All the great
images in me, the landscapes sensed from afar,
the towns and towers and bridges and un-
foreseen turns of path, and those lands,
grown vast with gods:
they have all increased in meaning in me,
your meaning, you who have escaped.
You were the gardens.
I watched them with such
hope. An open window
in a country house — you almost
stepped through it, so near and attentive.
Streets I discovered — you’d walked right
down them too, and sometimes the mirror
in a merchant’s shop was still dizzy with you
and, startled, returned my own image to me —
And who knows, if yesterday the very same bird
did not cry through us, separately,
all at once, in the twilight?
Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated from German by Paul Weinfield, © 2015