Marriage - Poem by Wolfgang Steinmann
They both had been quiet a while. And now
The room lay in darkness, heavy and gray.
The man looked at her and the wife heard him say:
We shall not become like each other or bow.
For everyone suffers his very own pains.
My grandparents there in these picture frames,
They sometimes give me a terrible start:
Could you only see the letters they wrote;
The words look alike, they equally float,
It is really quite hard
To tell the writers apart. -
… You know, it's not good to suffer together,
For the pain that is shared is hurting less.
On my heart put your hands or press
On my wrists with your palm:
Can you feel what I think of every realm?
And I cannot tell you what it's about.
Never, never turn into me,
And I too will fight equally.
The woman, she thought for a while, and then -
These are the words which heard the man:
You have taken away the people from me,
The people too close, the people too loud;
To take up my life I am finally free,
The life which by others I was not allowed.
I will be but myself, ever safe and secure
I shall not wait and I shall be
Alone on this earth I will be only me.
I will relish myself, myself will endure,
I will look for you nowhere and never.
We are like two rivers, close but obscure,
And our child will not be like us, ever.
She was still; and the dusk had grown rife,
And darker the thoughts of the man and the wife:
That there are many alone nowadays.
But the world will be wider
When our ways
Are close to each other but with a divider.
In Grandmother's time
It was small and sublime.
Women thought from their wombs
Sprang forth equal blooms;
But the children that came
Had no likeness, no name …
What they greeted and cheered,
What was true, disappeared;
And we made our own
What has never been known.
(after: Rainer Maria Rilke: Ehe,
from the German)
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