Classic and Contemporary Poetry
QUAI DU ROSAIRE: BRUGES, by RAINER MARIA RILKE Poet's Biography
First Line: These streets have such a tranquil, languid gait
Last Line: Clusters of chimes in the far heavens hung.
Subject(s): Bruges, Belgium
These streets have such a tranquil, languid gait
(as convalescents, moving thoughtfully,
Wonder: is this the way it used to be?),
and those that reach the squares linger to wait
for one that passes with a single stride
across the waters the clear dusk has dyed,
wherein, as things grow mellowed and impearled,
the clearer shines a mirror-imaged world,
more real than things substantial ever were.
Has not this city vanished? Oh, look there,
(as if through some unfathomable law)
transposed, in those blank depths it lies, defined,
as though life there were of a wonted kind;
hugely the luminous gardens hang, enshrined,
and suddenly the dance coils there, behind
the lighted windows of the hostelries.
And overhead?The silence, indolent,
leans, slowly crushing sweetness on her tongue:
grape upon fragrant grape, from luculent
clusters of chimes in the far heavens hung.
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