They’re gathered round, astonished, full of dread,
round him who like a wise man must decide,
and who leaves those with whom he’s broken bread,
and who comes like a stranger from outside.
Old solitude haunts him, Gethsemane,
though once it bound him to astounding acts;
now he will walk through every olive tree,
and those who love him turn away their backs.
He’s called them to the table, past the stoves,
and (like birds woken by shots from the groves)
he humbles their hands from among the loaves
with his own words: and toward him they fly,
flawed, fluttering; and yet with all their power,
they look for ways out, since the time is nigh,
but he is everywhere, like twilight hour.
after Rainer Maria Rilke
- Leo Yankevich’s latest books are The Last Silesian (The Mandrake Press, 2005) Tikkun Olam & Other Poems (Second Expanded Edition), (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2012), Journey Late at Night: Poems & Translations (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2013) & The Hypocrisies of Heaven: Poems New & Old (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2016). His poems have appeared in Amelia, American Jones Building & Maintenance, Artword Quarterly, Beauty for Ashes Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, Candelabrum, Cedar Hill Review, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, CounterPunch, Disquieting Muses, Edge City Review, Electric Acorn, Envoi, FutureCycle Poetry, Harpstrings, Iambs & Trochees, Iota, Ironwood, Kimera, Lite: Baltimore's Literary Newspaper, Lucid Rhythms, Mr. Cogito, New Hope International, Nostoc, Parnassus Literary Journal, Pennine Platform, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Poetry Nottingham, Psychopoetica, Raintown Review, Riverrun, Romantics Quarterly, Ship of Fools, Snakeskin, Sonnet Scroll, Staple, Sulphur River Literary Review, Tennessee Quarterly, The Barefoot Muse, The East River Review, The Eclectic Muse, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, The London Magazine, The MacGuffin, The Monongahela Review, The Neovictorian/Cochlea, thehypertexts.com, The Pennsylvania Review, The Sarmatian Review, The Tennessee Review, Tucumcari Literary Review, Trinacria, Visions International, Weyfarers, Whelks Walk Review, Windsor Review, inter alia. He is editor of The New Formalist. More of his work can be found at Leo Yankevich.com.