Entrance, by Rainer Maria Rilke

Painting by Leonid Pasternak, "Alexander Pushkin at the seashore"
Painting by Leonid Pasternak, Alexander Pushkin at the seashore

Whoever you are: in the evening step out
of your room, where you know everything;
yours is the last house before the far-off:
whoever you are.
With your eyes, which in their weariness
barely free themselves from the worn-out threshold,
you lift very slowly one black tree
and place it against the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made the world. And it is huge
and like a word which grows ripe in silence.
And as your will seizes on its meaning,
tenderly your eyes let it go. . .

Translated From The German By Edward Snow

From America’s Favorite Poems: A Favorite Poem Project Anthology, edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz (W.W. Norton: 328 pp,)