Portrait of My Father as a Young Man
Rainer Maria Rilke
Translation by Daniel Kingery
In the eyes: a dream. The forehead as if in contact
with something distant. Around the mouth so much
youth, un-smiled seduction,
and in front of the full, ornamental braids
of the slim noble uniform
the saber’s woven hilt and both hands –, which
wait, calm, pressed not to move.
And now, barely still visible: as if they,
first grasping far-away things, disappeared.
And everything else, entangled in its own fate
and erased as if we didn’t understand
and deep from its own cloudy depths–.
You slowly fading daguerreotype
in my more slowly fading hands.