The Island (II)

As if lying in some crater on the moon,
each farm is encircled by its earthen banks.
And like orphans the gardens inside
are dressed and combed the same

by the storm that raises them so roughly,
scaring them all the time with threats of death.
That’s when you stay indoors, gazing into
the crooked mirror at the assorted things

reflected there. Toward evening one of you
steps outside the door and draws from the harmonica
a sound as soft as weeping

such as you heard once in a distant port.
Out there, silhouetted against the sky,
one of the sheep stands motionless on the far dike.

— Rilke, New Poems

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