by Rainer Maria Rilke
A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:
just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.
She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once
as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.
I have lost it. I placed it on the ground.
For all the world to see.
seen that black cat in my path.
I would have taken a different pass.
That is of no consequence now. As I place faith down…
await the last laugh.
only the devoutly, pampered,
knead peace and harmony.
All the same,
these were not gentle persuaders that brought me to my knees.
It is my own ruthless mind…
That is the cruelest to be kind.
My restless spirit has visited here before.
Belligerent, naked, on the soiled floor.
Knelt in prayer.
encrusted with yesterday’s snow.
turned from the winds that come and go.
I have hastened and wrest…
time and time again,
Cast many a tired, leery, shadow to the snow.
Yet, as always,
a mindful hiker.
A trail left behind.
For when acceptance comes to mind.