Treasure Island

Rainer Maria Rilke

(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926 / Prague / Czech Republic)

Lament (O how all things are far removed)


O how all things are far removed
and long have passed away.
I do believe the star,
whose light my face reflects,
is dead and has been so
for many thousand years.

I had a vision of a passing boat
and heard some voices saying disquieting things.
I heard a clock strike in some distant house...
but in which house?...

I long to quiet my anxious heart
and stand beneath the sky's immensity.
I long to pray...
And one of all the stars
must still exist.
I do believe that I would know
which one alone
endured,
and which like a white city stands
at the ray's end shining in the heavens.


Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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