Cinquain After Rilke

That dream
where the panther
keeps pacing… and Rilke
won’t tell me which side of the bars
I’m on.

The Panther
by Rainer Maria Rilke
His gaze has from the passing of the bars
grown so tired, that it holds nothing anymore.
It seems to him there are a thousand bars
and behind a thousand bars no world.

The supple pace of powerful soft strides,
turning in the very smallest circle,
is like a dance of strength around a center
in which a great will stands numbed.

Only sometimes the curtain of the pupils
soundlessly slides up --. Then an image enters,
glides through the limbs' taut stillness
dives to the heart and dies.

[Translated by Edward Snow]

Desert Orbs

full moon
rising above
the silhouetted hills:
a pie pan flung by the roadside,


clippings lurking
in the ashtray -- I want
to forget, but you've left so much