Until all of summer… (Remembering Rilke)


Each of us has a cave to hide in, otherwise a cave we hide from others. I once had my own; it refused to go until recently.

bohol caveRilke reminds me of its insistent character, a simile that echoes an incantation—the likeness of ‘words’ to ‘summer days’, each scarcely containing itself, like a ‘rose-interior,’ like a cave that “[overflows] and [streams] into the days … until all of summer becomes a room, a room within a dream.”[1]

I was sinking in the shallow waters of the marine sanctuary; my feet were touching the tip of my memory; the mangroves were quietly kneeling at their roots, as the silent tide, dearest to a night like this, was starting to mingle around them.


The moon is muted on the far side; on the hither side, a low tide is brainwashing the coral reefs, steady and persevering, in exchange for a night without sin, long enough before the light reclaims its place, before all the little memories bear the cost of a slow, gentle death.

[1] Rainier Maria Rilke, “Rose-Interior,” in New Poems (1908): The Other Part. A Bilingual Edition, trans.  Edward Snow (New York: North Point Press, 1987), 169.

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