If I had grown up in a land where days

If I had grown up in a land where days
were free from care and hours were delicate,
then I would have contrived a splendid fête
for you, and not have held you in the way
I sometimes do, tightly in fearful hands.

There I would have been bold to squander you,
you boundless Presence.
Like a ball
I would have flung you among all tossing joys,
so one might catch you,
and if you seemed to fall,
with both hands high would spring
toward you,
you thing of things.

I would have let you flash
forth like a sword.
From the most golden of all rings
I would have taken your fire and
reset it in a mounting that would hold it
over the whitest hand.

I would have painted you: not on the wall,
but upon very heaven from verge to verge,
and would have shaped you, as a giant would:
you, as a mountain, as a blazing fire,
as the simoon, grown from the desert’s surge —
it may be, in very truth, I found
you once . . .
………………..My friends are far away,
I scarcely hear their laughter any more;
and you: ah, you have fallen from the nest,
a fledgling, yellow-clawed with big eyes:
I grieve for you.
(In my broad hand your tininess is lost).
And from the well I lift a drop
upon my finger, intent if you’ll stretch
a thirsty throat for it, and then I hear
your heart and mine beating,
and both with fear.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Poems from the Book of Hours

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