Mirrors

Any angel is frightening.
Yet, because I know you,
I invoke you in spite of myself,
you lethal birds of the soul.

Fated to be happy from the beginning of time,
creation’s spoiled immortal darlings,
summits of the cosmos shining at dawn,
pollen from heavy blossoms, limbs of light,
hallways, stairs, thrones carved from existence,
shields of ecstasy, shrines for delight —
and suddenly, each one, mirror:
where our own evanescent beauty
is gathered into an enduring countenance.

— Rilke, From the Second Duino Elegy

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