“Mirrors, no one has ever yet described
you, figured out what you honestly are.
You are merely a few sieve holes inscribed
on sliced regions of time hopelessly far.
You are the prodigals of the empty chamber
when dusk spreads on the woods enormously …
Like a sixteen-pointer stag the chandelier
strides through your impenetrability.
Sometimes you’re full of paintings. And a few
seem to be brushed right into your background
while others you’ve sent timidly away.
But the most beautiful of them will stay
till bright Narcissus catches and breaks through
to her chaste lips hidden in the beyond.”
Sonnets to Orpheus / Rilke / Trans Willis Barnstone / Shambhala press