by Rainer Maria Rilke

The stamina of an old long-noble race
in the eyebrows’ heavy arches. In the mild
blue eyes the solemn anguish of a child
and here and there humility — not a fool’s
but feminine: the look of one who serves.
The mouth quite ordinary large and straight
composed yet not willing to speak out
when necessary. The forehead still naive
most comfortable in shadows looking down.

This as a whole just hazily foreseen —
never in any joy of suffering
collected for a firm accomplishment;
and yet as though from far off with scattered things
a serious true work were being planned.

IMAGE: Portrait of Rainer Maria Rilke by Helmut Westoff.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926)  was an Austro-Hungarian poet and novelist. His writings include one novel, several collections of poetry, and several volumes of correspondence. He is best remembered for his Letters to a Young Poet.