In the Asylum Garden

The abandoned cloister still encloses the courtyard
as if it were holy.
It remains a retreat from the world
for those who live there now.

Whatever could happen has already happened.
Now they are glad to walk the trusted paths
that draw them apart and bring them back together,
so simple and so willing.

Some, on their knees beside the planted beds,
are absorbed by what they are tending.
When no one can see, there is
a secret little gesture they make.

To touch the tender early grass,
shyly to caress it.
The green is friendly and needs protection
from the rose whose red can be too fierce

and can overpower once again
what they know in their hearts to be true.
Still the inner knowledge is always there:
how good the grass is and how soft.

— Rilke, New Poems

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