The sovereigns of the world are old
and they will have no heirs at all.
Death took their sons when they were small,
and their pale daughters soon resigned
to force frail crowns they could not hold.
The mob breaks these to bits of gold
that the world’s master, shrewd and bold,
melts in the fire to enginery
that sullenly serves his desires,
but fortune is not in his hire.
The ore is homesick. It is eager
to leave the coins and turning wheels
that offer it a life so meagre.
From coffers and from factories
it would flow back into the veins
of gaping mountains whence it came,
that close upon it once again.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, Poems from the Book of Hours