Falling Snow, Rising Mist

a poem by
Rainer Maria Rilke

Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war seht groß.
Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren,
und auf den Fluren laß die Winde los.

Befiehl den letzten Früchten voll zu sein;
gieb ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage,
dränge sie zur Vollendung hin und jage
die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein.

Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben,
wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben
und wird in den Alleen hin und her
unruhig wandern, wenn die Blätter treiben.

(Photo: Above the Mist; Below the Snow.  The view looking East, towards the end of October.
The low-lying cloud cover, which extends all the way to the cities at lower elevations in
Switzerland and southern Germany, has its ceiling at about 1300 meters. The snow level—the
point where snow turns to rain—is almost a vertical kilometer higher, at 2200 meters.Remarkably
from the North American perspective, one could easily be camped where this photograph was
made, hike down to a near-by village—an easy walk of but three hours, catch a commuter
train coming from Milan, Italy and arrive refreshed in the heart of the old part of Zürich.
And all that, just in time for late morning coffee and biscuits at a literary cafe. Of course,
you'd have to leave the beautiful weather above treeline behind.The Alps )

| to see more of Rilke's work in translation together with the German originals, a concise hyperlinked biography,
as well as a guide to Rilke on the Internet, go to The Poetry of Ranier Maria Rilke |

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Photo/English translation © 1999 Cliff Crego All Rights Reserved  
IV.7.1999; Last update: III.4.2002) Photo/English translation © 1999 Cliff Crego
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