Lady at Her Mirror by Rainer Maria Rilke

Translated by Len  Krisak (January 2013)

As spices blend into her sleeping-drink,

She softly melts those features loosed to sleep

Inside her mirror’s fluency, and deep

Down in it, lets her smile subside and sink.

And then she waits to watch clear liquid rise

From it, and pours the hair that she’s let down

Into the mirror. From her evening gown,

She lifts one wondrous shoulder, as her eyes

Drink from her image quietly. She takes

In what a reeling lover would who’d face

That glass filled with mistrust, and then she makes

The gesture for her maid, but not before

She finds a candle at the mirror’s base,

An armoire, and the dregs of this late hour.

Len Krisak has published in The London Magazine, The Oxonian Review, PN Review, Standpoint, Agni, The Antioch Review, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson Review, The Dark Horse, Agenda, The Hopkins Review, Commonweal, Literary Imagination, The Oxford Book of Poems on Classical Mythology, and others. His latest book is Virgil’s Eclogues, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.


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