But because truly, being here is so much;
because everything here
apparently needs us, this fleeting world,
which in some strange way
keeps calling to us. Us, the most fleeting of all.

Once for each thing. Just once; no more. And we too,
just once. And never again. But to have been
this once, completely, even if only once:
to have been at one with the earth,
seems beyond undoing.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Ninth Duino Elegy


It hovered for two moments, even three.
No, not it … he, or she
came to greet us, greet you, greet me.
I could not name her, nor you him.
His wings blurred, her body delicate.
If he could smile … well, perhaps she did.

Perhaps not at us,
but at the child between us,
The child we planted,
root of you, root of me.
Two months old and nimbus gold,
a sapling born of longing,
to taste the sun’s wake,
to dance in the moon’s glow,
to flower in spring,
to lie like a lizard,
lazy thoughts that
fill the empty corners
of desert summer days,
to shed old skin in autumn,
dormant bones in frozen snows,
to be known and to know,
to be heard and to listen,
to love without regret,
to live if only once.

“Only once!” I heard
the hummingbird say,

then he turned,
and she flew away.

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