"The Kings of the World..."
Rainer Maria Rilke
The kings of the world are growing old,
and they shall have no inheritors.
Their sons died while they were boys,
and their neurasthenic daughters abandoned
the sick crown to the mob.
The mob breaks it into tiny bits of gold.
The Lord of the World, master of the age,
melts them in fire into machines,
which do his orders with low growls:
but luck is not on their side.
The ore feels homesick. It wants to abandon
the minting houses and the wheels
that offer it such a meager life.
And out of factories and payroll boxes
it wants to go back into the veins
of the thrown-open mountain,
which will close again behind it.
Little Cosmic Dust
Out of the debris of dying stars,
this rain of particles
that waters the waste with brightness;
the sea-wave of atoms hurrying home,
collapse of the giant,
unstable guest who cannot stay;
the sun's heart reddens and expands,
his mighty aspiration is lasting,
as the shell of his substance
one day will be white with frost.
In the radiant field of Orion
great hordes of stars are forming,
just as we see every night,
fiery and faithful to the end.
Out of the cold and fleeing dust
that is never and always,
the silence and waste to come -
this arm, this hand,
my voice, your face, this love.
Closer to neighbor wheeling constellations,
At last the man-made satellite is hurled,
Adventuring among uncharted space,
Yet tethered to the rolling of the world.
Now finite man with all his infinite dreaming,
At last has launched undaunted symbol of
The grandeur of his visionary power
Toward archipelagoes of suns above.
The voyage in interstellar vastness,
What questions does this man-made moon now ferry?
What signals does it semaphore and beacon?
What riddle does the satellite now query?
And even as this little orb in splendor,
When will the glory of manís mind, elate,
Also launch up his heart above the murky,
The thick and earthly atmosphere of hate?
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