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Bēhance

What Survives

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  • Again the words of my favorite poet. Rilke was so talented that he could write French as well. There are about four hundred poems he composed in this language and this is one of them. The poem was translated into Russian by Marina Tsvetaeva.
     
    An English translation by Alfred Poulin (the French original can be found here):
     
    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.
     
    Pointed pen and ink on paper, 42 x 29.7 cm.