Somtimes a Man Stands Up During Supper

Paula Modersohn-Becker.Rainer Maria Rilke, 1906
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Sometimes a man stands up during supper
and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.
And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.

And another man, who remains inside his own house,
dies there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
so that his children have to go far out into the world
toward that same church, which he forgot.

(Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke trans. By Robert Bly)

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