where the panther
keeps pacing… and Rilke
won’t tell me which side of the bars
.....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]