Already ripening barberries grow red,

Already ripening barberries grow red,
the aging asters scarce breathe in their bed.
Who is not rich, with summer nearly done,
will never find a self that is his own.

Who is unable now to close his eyes,
certain that many visages within
wait slumbering until night shall begin
and in the darkness of his soul will rise,
is like an aged man whose strength is gone.

Nothing will touch him in the days to come,
and each event will cheat him and betray,
even you, my God. And you are like a stone,
that draws him to a lower depth each day.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Poems from the Book of Hours

3 thoughts on “Already ripening barberries grow red,

  1. A fierce poem. A knock upside the head (or the heart) to say moments pass, opportunities do not forever tarry. The ultimate betrayal is of ourselves, our refusing to go down within, to plumb the depths, to believe there are images and visages and vistas within.

  2. I was so grateful to find this poem which I was looking for tonight! Thank you. But I remember “asters” rather than “masters” in the second line.

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