In the Eyes of a Dumb Beast

In the eyes of a dumb beast
I glimpsed deep peace,
nature’s impartial feast
offered up without surcease.

To fear all creatures respond.
Yet animals know how
on the hunt to browse
on the here and now,
which tastes of nothing beyond.

After Rainer Maria Rilke (original in French, Vergers n° 54 Pléiade p. 1007)

J’ai vu dans l’œil animal
la vie paisible qui dure,
le calme impartial
de l’imperturbable nature.

La bête connaît la peur ;
mais aussitôt elle avance
et sur son champ d’abondance
broute une présence,
qui n’a pas le goût d’ailleurs.


I stare often into the eyes of my boy cat Khaki, wondering what he is thinking about, if he even sees me looking back. This poem by Rilke has helped me understand he may be looking at something other than myself.