Classic and Contemporary Poetry
PIETA, by RAINER MARIA RILKE Poet's Biography
First Line: So once more, jesus, I behold your feet
Last Line: Strangely together to our doom we go.
So once more, Jesus, I behold your feet,
feet that long since my pitiful hands laid bare,
to wash them,then they seemed a boy's, I thought;
how they stood tangled in my covering hair,
like a white wild thing in the briers caught.
For the first time, this night of love, your sweet
and never-cherished limbs are mine to know.
I never warmed them with my body's heat,
now I may only watch them, thus brought low.
But look, your hands, your wasted hands, are torn:
Beloved, not by me, with passion's thorn.
Your heart is open to the passerby:
none should have entered there, save only I.
Now you are tired, your mouth, that tired flower,
has no desire for my mouth of woe.
When, Jesus, Jesus, O when was our hour?
Strangely together to our doom we go.
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