There’s no help for it. February is bleak. Ironically, it is also the month of the Valentine. Combining both, here is a little Rilke on forsaken love.

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Maiden Melancholy

A knight, as from a proverb old,
Comes riding into mind.

He came. So through the wood and wold
The storm may come and all enfold.

He passed. So evening’s benison
May pass before your prayers are done,
Forsaken by the bell;
And though you’d cry aloud with woe,
You only whimper, long and low
Into your kerchief cold.

A knight, as from a proverb old,
Rides armored, far and fell.

His smile was sweet, and softly shone
Like antique light on elven-bone,
Like homesickness, like Christmas snow
On darkling rooftops, like the row
Of pearls set round a turquoise stone,
Like soft moon-glow
Upon a book loved well.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Book of Images



Whoever you may be: at evening rise
And leave the hearth you know so thoroughly.
The last horizon’s end is where it lies:
Whoever you may be.

Now with your eyes, which you can scarcely free
From that familiar threshold of your own,
Raise up by slow degrees a blackened tree
Against the heaven, slender and alone.

And you have made the world. And it will grow
Like words in stillness—ripe, immense;
And as your will begins to grasp the sense,
Your eyes will sweetly let it go…

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Images