Rilke in the Mountains

Rilke in the Mountains

Randall Jarrell reads, his just-
translated “The Great Night”
hanging before us, I the new
instructor among a handful of students,
that Greensboro so long ago it seems
also a poem inside a dream.
Then with his image beside me I
climb the suspending slope of our
cottage, Randall’s slight presence
whispering of the land become pink
light near sunset. This slant
across wild asters and thistles
takes in the blackberry roughness
and purples the substance of a granite
rooting, as if into the evanescence
of time and thought. Only then
I notice on our right the stones
of graves from the church in the valley.
The chiseled identities cut the tissued
brightnesses, connecting our breathing
on into a westward horizon. I remember
his syllables falling musically precisely
conveying us into a different country,
in a century also only a part of history.