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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