by Rainer Maria Rilke
This toiling at tasks that remain to be done,
this trudging as if bound, in a heavy way,
is like the ungainly gait of the swan.
And dying, the time we no longer grip
the ground on which we stand each day
is like the fretful way he starts to dip
into waters that gently receive him at last
as if they were happy and already past,
and slid back beneath him, streaming wide,
while he, so endlessly silent and sure,
ever more regal and mature,
calmly condescends to glide.
© translation by Erik Bendix