You Said “Live”

You said live out loud, and die you said lightly,
and over and over again you said be.

But before the first death came murder.
A fracture broke across the rings you’d ripened.
A screaming shattered the voices

that had just come together to speak to you,
to make of you a bridge
over the chasm of everything.

And what they have stammered ever since
are fragments
of your ancient name.

— Rilke, The Book of Hours I, 9

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