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Poem: Maiden Melancholy

His smile was luminously kind/Like glint of ivory enshrined,/Like a home longing undivined,
melancholy
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A young knight comes into my mind
As from some myth of old.

He came! You felt yourself entwined
As a great storm would round you wind.
He went! A blessing undefined
Seemed left, as when church-bells declined
And left you wrapt in prayer.
You fain would cry aloud—but bind
Your scarf about you and tear-blind
Weep softly in its fold.

A young knight comes into my mind
Full armored forth to fare.

His smile was luminously kind
Like glint of ivory enshrined,
Like a home longing undivined,
Like Christmas snows where dark ways wind,
Like sea-pearls about turquoise twined,
Like moonlight silver when combined
With a loved book’s rare gold.

Translated from German by Jessie Lamont.
This poem in now in the public domain. 

Image courtesy Pixabay

René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke, better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was an Austrian poet and novelist. He is “widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets”. He wrote both verse and highly lyrical prose. Several critics have described Rilke’s work as “mystical”.

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