Classic and Contemporary Poetry
YOU, NEIGHBOR GOD, by RAINER MARIA RILKE Poet's Biography
First Line: You, neighbor god, if sometimes in the night
Last Line: Apart from you are exiles, hopeless of return.
You, neighbor God, if sometimes in the night
I rouse you with loud knocks, I seek you only
because I know you are alone and lonely,
because your scarce heard breathing seems so slight.
And should you need a drink, there's none to hear
your groping finds no cupthe long hours darken.
Give but a little sign. Be sure I hearken
always. I am so near.
Between us stands a wall so mere, so fine,
so casual, that it might take
simply a call from your lips or from mine
and it would break
all noiselessly away.
Your images between us stand like clay.
And every image hides you like a name.
And if the light in me is made to burn,
whereby my depths your instant self discern,
the brilliance spends itself upon their frame.
And then my senses, that so soon grow lame,
apart from you are exiles, hopeless of return.
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