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

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Comments (4)

Qui te dit que tout disparaisse?
''Who says that all must vanish? '' - ''Chi dice che tutto deve sparire? '' right.. « Nulla si crea, nulla si distrugge, tutto si trasforma », Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier :) for the principle of mass conservation.. and then, we can extend the concept to energy.. as the total energy of an isolated system remains constant..
hi Manu! this poem was originally in French (Rilke wrote several hundred poems in that language) . here it is: Qui te dit que tout disparaisse? De l'oiseau que tu blesses, Qui sait s'il ne reste le vol? Et peut-être les fleurs des caresses Survivent à nous, de leur sol. Ce n'est pas le geste qui dure, Mais il nous revêt de l'armure D'or, des flancs aux genoux, Et tant la bataille fut pure, Un ange la porte après nous.
does anyone knows the german title of this poem? ? thanks.