The Kings of the World
The kings of the world are growing old
and they shall have no inheritors.
Their sons died while they were boys,
and their neurasthenic daughters abandoned
the sick crown to the mob.
The mob breaks it into tiny bits of gold.
The Lord of the World, master of the age,
melts them in fire into machines,
which do his orders with low growls;
but luck is not on their side.
The ore feels homesick. It wants to abandon
the minting house and the wheels
that offer it such a meager life.
And out of factories and payroll boxes
it wants to go back into the veins
of the thrown-open mountain,
which will close again behind it.
Rainer Maria Rilke
from News of the Universe
translation: Robert Bly