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
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