by Rainer Maria Rilke
Oh, if only I knew for whom I play
I could always give voice to what rushing brooks say.
If I could but sense whether dead children found
any joy in hearing my inner star’s sound
If girls who are gone could both waft and hear
around me when the evening wind is near.
If I could silently stroke through dead hair
of a person once wracked with fury and care…
For what would music be if it did not sing
far above and beyond each and every thing.
To be sure she who wafts does not really know
where change could interrupt us as we go.
That friends should hear us is all for the best –,
though they are not so fully at rest
as the others, the ones one sees no more:
they feel a song of a life to the core
for they waft among everything wafting about
and die out whenever its sound dies out.
© translation by Erik Bendix