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Elegies

O and the night, the night, when the wind full of worldspace
gnaws at our faces–, for whom won’t the night be there,
desired, gently disappointing, a hard rendezvous
for each toiling heart. Is it easier for lovers?
Ah, but they only use each other to hide what awaits them,
You still don’t see? Cast the emptiness from your arms
into the spaces we breathe: perhaps the birds
will sense the increase of air with more passionate flying.

Isn’t it time that these most ancient sorrows of ours
grew fruitful? Time that we tenderly loosed ourselves
from the loved one, and, unsteadily, survived:
the way the arrow, suddenly all vector, survives the string
to be more than itself. For abiding is nowhere.

-Rilke (The First Elegy)

Casting and loosing are what’s needed, but under the bell jar, there is only abiding.

Anne longed for the night and gnawing wind. It was again endless summer, endless day. The merciful rain that had soothed yesterday’s sorrows was gone; it was almost impossible to imagine that it ever existed. Her eyes made mirage pools in the sun that blinded the end of the bed.

Things had opened to feeling again. Unexpectedly, the font had cracked within an evening of remembering. The shimmering possibility of nights of joy, like the bed-mirage, came into view.

But now Anne felt almost nothing when she extended her fingers into the sun. Shadows and mirages receded from her Tantalus tips, and she was unsure she had ever wanted to touch them at all.

For our part, when we feel, we evaporate; ah, we breathe

ourselves out and away; with each new heartfire
we give off a fainter scent.
O smile, going where? O upturned look:
new, warm, receding surge of the heat–;
alas, we are that surge. Does then the cosmic space
we dissolve in taste of us?
-Rilke (The Second Elegy)

Was Anne fainter? Did the cosmic space taste of her? Because her head was upturned for a moment?

The cosmic space was heavy and diseased and unlike Anne.

She had wanted again to be free, to be her effusive self. But effusion, the font cracked, always manufactured a new prison. At once, it felt like collecting cascading marbles rolling away from her grasp and flipping a switch. Both impossible and easy. To turn back into stone.

Anne was suddenly all vector.

She would be cavernous and quiet.

xW

 

 

 

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