Rainer Maria Rilke

4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926 / Prague / Czech Republic

What Survives

Who says that all must vanish?
Who knows, perhaps the flight
of the bird you wound remains,
and perhaps flowers survive
caresses in us, in their ground.

It isn't the gesture that lasts,
but it dresses you again in gold
armor --from breast to knees--
and the battle was so pure
an Angel wears it after you.
Translated by A. Poulin
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