by Ranier Marie Rilke
How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn't touch your soul?
How can I raise it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote lost objects,
in some dark and silent place that doesn't resonate
when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.
Translated by Stephen Mitchell