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« From Hell | Main | Blok, "О, я хочу безумно жить" »

Rilke, "Kindheit"

A work ("Childhood") by this Austrian poet.  You can read the original here.

Both fear and time long since in school have seeped,  
To lurk in purely hollow things, undeep; 
O solitude, O irksomely spent time.   
And then they're outside: streets will sparge and chime,  
And on the squares fair fountains leap and climb,  
And in the gardens now our world grows wide; 
And through that all, in tiny dresses tied, 
So different from the others going, gone: 
O wondrous time, O time to spend as one; 
O solitude, O woe sublime.

And in all that, so far ahead to sight: 
Where men and women, men, men, women loom,   
And children, different and brightly hewn;  
And there's a house, and now and then a hound, 
And horror shifts to trust without a sound: 
O mourning without sense, O dream, O fright,  
O bottomless abyss of night. 

And playing thus: with ball and ring and tire 
Within a gently fading garden kept,   
And sometimes brushing by adults to race, 
Imbruted and so blind in hare-like haste;  
Yet quiet evenings come in slight, stiff steps,   
Back to the house, held firmly, to retire:  
O ever-fleeting understanding – wait. 
O fear, O burden great.  

And hours spent beside the great gray pond,  
There kneeling near a sailing ship so small;
Forgetting as still others, like ones, crawl,  
If comelier in sail, across the rings,  
And forced about that small pale face to think,   
As it resurfaces on water's bond:  
O childhood, O misled comparison: 
O wither then, O wither then?  

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