Thursday, June 16, 2011

the tombs of the resurrected


This was the time which began with his feeling as general and anonymous as a slowly recovering convalescent.  He didn't love anything, unless it could be said that he loved existing.  The humble love that his sheep felt for him was no burden;  like sunlight falling through clouds, it dispersed around him and softly shimmered upon the meadows.  On the innocent trail of their hunger, he walked silently over pastures of the world.  Strangers saw him on the Acropolis, and perhaps for many years he was one of the shepherds in Les Baux, and saw petrified time outlast that noble family which, in spite of all their conquests under the holy numbers seven and three, could not overcome the fatal sixteen-rayed star on their own coat-of-arms.  Or should I imagine him at Orange, resting against the rustic triumphal arch?  Should I see him in the soul-inhabited shade of Alyscamps, where, among the tombs that lie open as the tombs of the resurrected, his glance chases a dragonfly?

~ Rainer Maria Rilke
from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
translated by Stephen Mitchell