by Rainer Maria Rilke, from Die Sonette an Orpheus, translated by Don Patterson, Orpheus (Faber and , 2006).
Silent comrade of the distances,
Know that space dilates with your own breath;
ring out, as a bell into the Earth
from the dark rafters of its own high place -
then watch what feeds on you grown strong again.
Learn the transformations through and through:
what in your life has most tormented you?
If the water's sour, turn it into wine.
Our sense cannot fathom this night, so
be the meaning of their strange encounter;
at their crossing, be the radiant centre.
And should the world forget your name
say this to the still earth: I flow.
Say this to the quick stream: I am.