Dan Rifenburgh

It is the chalice of all essence
Because it does not exist. Because it cannot be,
It owns the purest of being.

We stumblers
Between moonlight and shadows
Are offering to it the merest contingency

That it might exist,
The rough salt we proffer, with which
We tease it, withhold, and, unable thus

To coax it forth
From its dark nook in the green forest,
Feed unto our too-contingent selves.

Ah, lord of the rare beasts, of the pounded salt,
That we might, improbably,

And that where a dry twitching stirs
Among dry, self-writhing leaves
Might that uncombed mane,

Those prancing hooves, the magic
And sportive
Great horn,

Present themselves:
Our stamping, swift,
Companionable steed . . .

After Rilke

Poems used with permission of the authors, and may not be re-used without their permission.