Born of Both Worlds

Is Orpheus of this world? No. The vastness of his nature
is born of both realms.
If you know how the willow is shaped underground,
you can see it more clearly above.

We are told not to leave food
on the table overnight: it draws the dead.
But Orpheus, the conjuring one,
mixes death into all our seeing,

mixes it with everything.
The wafting of smoke and incense
is as real to him as the most solid thing.

Nothing can sully what he beholds.
He praises the ring, the bracelet, the pitcher,
whether it comes from a bedroom or a grave.

— Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus I, 6

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