from The Book of Hours
By Rainer Maria Rilke
And so they say: my life, my wife, my child,
my dog, well knowing all that they have styled
their own: life, wife, child, dog, remain
shapes foreign and unknown,
that blindly groping they must stumble on...
...in the beggary of their wandering
they cannot claim a bond with any thing,
but, driven from possessions they have prized,
not by their own belongings recognized,
they can own wives no more than they own flowers
whose life is alien and apart from ours.
--Translated by Babette Deutsch