The Last Evening

And night and distant rumbling; now the army's
carrier-train was moving out, to war.
He looked up from the harpsichord, and as
he went on playing, he looked across at her

almost as one might gaze into a mirror:
so deeply was her every feature filled
with his young features, which bore his pain and were
more beautiful and seductive with each sound.

Then, suddenly, the image broke apart.
She stood, as though distracted, near the window
and felt the violent drum-beats of her heart.

His playing stopped. From outside, a fresh wind blew.
And strangely alien on the mirror-table
stood the black shako with its ivory skull.


Translated by Stephen Mitchell

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Comments (2)

God is a consuming fire. This statement you can find in the Vedas too. Such a person is free to act, freely, simply, spontaneously, from the depths of the heart, moved by intense desire of love. God is a consuming fire. The desire to love god intensely is the ultimate Bhakti. Tony, fabulous poem.
Wow, Tony! I. See more new postings and look forward to reading them. On this one, interesting the images, the way, God—the God who is love—is described. Here as consuming fire, then madness, wine that makes one divinely drunk... May we live constantly in love’s transformation. -Glen