I read it in your word, and learn it from
the history of the gestures of your warm
wise hands, rounding themselves to form
and circumscribe the shapes that are to come.
Aloud you said: to live, and lo: to die,
and you repeated, tirelessly: to be.
And yet there was no death till murder came.
Then through your perfect circles ran a rent
and a cry tore,
scattering the voices that not long before
had gently blent
to utter you,
to carry you,
bridge across the abyss —
And what they since have stammered
are the fragments only
of your old name.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, Poems from the Book of Hours