The knight

by Rainer Maria Rilke

The knight rides forth in coal-black steel
into the teaming world.

Outside his armor everything is there: sunlight and valley,
friend and foe and feast,
May, maiden, forest and grail,
and God himself in a thousand forms
to be found along every road.

But inside the armor darkly enclosing him
crouches death. And the thought comes
and comes again:
when will the blade
pierce this iron sheath,
the undeserved and liberating blade
that will fetch me from my hiding place
where I’ve been so long compressed –

So that, at last, I may stretch my limbs
and hear my full voice.

from “Book of Images”

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