Stammering Fragments

I read it in your word, learn it from the story

of those gestures with which your hands

cupped themselves around each fledgling thing –

warm, encompassing, wise.

You pronounced live strongly and die softly

and ceaselessly repeated: Be.

But before the first death murder came.

With that a rent tore through your perfect circles

and a scream broke in

and scattered all those voices

that had just then come together

to sing you,

to carry you about,

their bridge over all abysses –


And what they have been stammering since

are fragments

of your ancient name.

– Rainer Rilke


Thanks to my friend Ginny for introducing me to this beautiful poem.

One thought on “Stammering Fragments

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