After the summer’s yield, Lord, it is time
to let your shadow lengthen on the sundials
and in the pastures let the rough winds fly.
As for the final fruits, coax them to roundness.
Direct on them two days of warmer light
to hale them golden toward their term, and harry
the last few drops of sweetness through the wine.
Whoever’s homeless now, will build no shelter;
who lives alone will live indefinitely so,
waking up to read a little, draft long letters,
and, along the city’s avenues,
fitfully wander, when the wild leaves loosen.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Czech Republic, 1875-1926) translated by Marie Kinzie, from Poetry 2008
Cover: Gabrielle Chanel, Handwritten note autograph:
“The life we lead always amounts to so little, the life we dream of, that’s the great existence because it will continue beyond death.”
Private collection (Photo: Thierry Depagne)