The day Rilke knew where Picasso had secreted
The painting he had finished in 1905
Called ‘The Family of Saltimbiques’,
—and since he had come to feel its urgency—
He made plans to go to the castle where
Ir was domiciled. He wrote, With all its eyes
The animal world beholds the Open.
But how could this be true?
The Open disappeared as soon as you pierced
It’s confidences. The conditions in which
He found himself were dire at best.
He could hardly speak. His throat
Would thicken and his tongue would
Become coarse. The pain would throb
In his throat like a match set aflame.
The Saltimbiques were old and humble.
They had discovered we must dream
The way the animals beg our dreams
To materialize: They don‘t want luminescence;
Further, they don’t want us to know
That to ferry the dead was unreal.
The precisions of poetry can have no age.
What’s written must belong to the earth.
And be alone as a prayer is. So he lives.