From The Sonnets to Orpheus

Plump apple, smooth banana, melon, peach,
gooseberry… How all this affluence
speaks death and life into the mouth… I sense…
Observe it from a child’s transparent features

while he tastes. This comes from far away.
What miracle is happening in your mouth?
Instead of words, discoveries flow out
from the ripe flesh, astonished to be free.

Dare to say what “apple” truly is.
This sweetness that feels thick, dark, dense at first;
then, exquisitely lifted in your taste,

grows clarified, awake and luminous,
double-meaninged, sunny, earthy, real—:
Oh knowledge, pleasure—inexhaustible.

Rainer Maria Rilke


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