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The Grownup

All this stood upon her and was the world
and stood upon her with all its fear and grace
as trees stand, growing straight up, imageless
yet wholly image, like the Ark of God,
and solemn, as if imposed upon a race.
As she endured it all: bore up under the swift-as-flight, the fleeting, the far-gone, the inconceivably vast, the still-to-learn, serenely as a woman carrying water moves with a full jug.
Till in the midst of play, transfiguring and preparing for the future, the first white veil descended, gliding softly over her opened face, almost opaque there, never to be lifted off again, and somehow giving to all her questions just one answer: In you, who were a child once-in you.
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

by Rainer Maria Rilke
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