She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
- Excerpt from Going Blind by Rainer Maria Rilke
I generally dislike ranking things but I think I can safely say Rilke is my favourite poet (sincerest apologies to Neruda and Wordsworth) and the poem below is my favourite poem of all. Admitting this leaves me in paroxysms of guilt. While I can almost see all the other poems I dearly love skulking off dejectedly and as much as this pains me, I simply cannot pretend to be poetically polyandrous anymore. Allow me to introduce to you: “the one.”
As Once the Winged Energy of Delight
As once the winged energy of delight
carried you over childhood's dark abysses,
now beyond your own life build the great
arch of unimagined bridges.
Wonders happen if we can succeed
in passing through the harshest danger;
but only in a bright and purely granted
achievement can we realize the wonder.
To work with Things in the indescribable
relationship is not too hard for us;
the pattern grows more intricate and subtle,
and being swept along is not enough.
Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions... for the god
wants to know himself in you.
- Rainer Maria Rilke