You Inherit the Green

And you inherit the green
of vanished gardens
and the motionless blue of fallen skies,
dew of a thousand dawns, countless summers
the suns sang, and springtimes to break your heart
like a young woman’s letters.

You inherit the autumns, folded like festive clothing
in the memories of poets; and all the winters,
like abandoned fields, bequeath you their quietness.
You inherit Venice, Kazan, Rome;

Florence will be yours, and Pisa’s cathedral,
Moscow with bells like memories,
and the Troiska convent, and the monastery
whose maze of tunnels lies swallowed under Kiev’s gardens.

— Rilke, From The Book of Hours II, 10

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