Tell Me, Orpheus

Tell me, Orpheus, what offering I can make
to you, who taught the creatures how to listen?
I remember a spring day in Russia;
it was evening, and a horse . . .

He came up from the village, a gray horse, alone.
With a hobble attached to one leg
he headed to the fields for the night.
How the thick mane beat against his neck

in rhythm with his high spirits
and his impeded, lurching gallop.
How all that was horse in him quickened.

He embraced the distances as if he could sing them,
as if your songs were completed in him.
His image is my offering.

— Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus I, 20

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