A poem of Rainer Maria Rilke written at the top of a watercolor portrait of 1921 (now in the Salzburg Museum) by his lover, Baladine Klosssowska. The poet is asleep on a sofa. The poem was translated by Paul Eprile with Alfred Corn and published in the New York Review of Books in a May 2016 issue.
This deer stepped into the garden of a friend in West Shokan, New York at a house in which we were never unhappy in 25 years and where we always slept the deepest sleep. The house was sold in 2015. To bring this contentment to others.
Sorrow is a stubborn piece of land,
through which, darkling, the blessed mind
sends down roots so as to bloom.
Whereas, in you, my resting heart,
all things stay nameless.
It’s from the outside things are named:
named for doubt, named for the moment;
but see how quick
we set bliss amongst the names.
And then, the speckled hind steps out,
and, over her, the strongest star,
fulfilled within the frame.