across an unknown sea

The Solitary

As one who has sailed across an unknown sea,
among this rooted folk I am alone;
the full days on their table are their own,
to me the distant is reality.

A new world reaches to my very eyes,
a place perhaps unpeopled as the moon;
their slightest feelings they must analyze,
and all their words have for the common tune.

The things I brought with me from far away,
compared with theirs, look strangely not the same:
in their great country they were living things,
but here they hold their breath, as if for shame.

Rilke

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