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