I read it in your word, learn it from the story
of those gestures with which your hands
cupped themselves around each fledgling thing -
warm, encompassing, wise.
You pronounced live strongly and die softly
and ceaselessly repeated: Be.
But before the first death murder came.
With that a rent tore through your perfect circles
and a scream broke in
and scattered all those voices
that had just then come together
to sing you,
to carry you about,
their bridge over all abysses -
And what they have been stammering since
of your ancient name.
-Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Book of Hours (1905)