Lovers

Lovers, you who are for a while
sufficient to each other,
help me understand who we are.
You hold each other. Have you proof?
See, my hands hold each other too.
I put my used-up face in them.
It helps me feel known.
Just from that, can we believe we endure?
You, however, who increase
through each other’s delight,
you who ripen in each other’s hands
like grapes in a vintage year:
I’m asking you
who we are.

You touch one another so reverently;
as though your caresses
could keep each place they cover
from disappearing. As though, underneath, you could sense
that which will always exist.
So, as you embrace, you promise each other eternity.

— Rilke, From the Second Duino Elegy

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