Aug 312012

by Anne Whitehouse


I was death-haunted

and tried not to know it.

I walked along the park’s promenade,

my landmarks hidden in white mist

and melting snow, like a dream

where figures appeared out of nowhere

and passed in silence.


Once Rilke replied

to a tedious business letter,

lay his head down on the table,

and heard the voice resonating in his mind,

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels’ hierarchies?

Every angel is terrifying, he heard,

imagining that annihilating embrace

empowering the Duino Elegies.


Sailing against the wind,

when you capture the resistance,

you can sail faster than the wind itself.


In seconds the fog lifted—

one moment visible

and vanished the next

from a rise in temperature.


Inspiration is everywhere and nowhere,

as diffuse as moonlight,

present as the hum of a refrigerator,

or the silence when the refrigerator

shuts off.