When Your Mother Steps Into The Doorway

When your mother
steps into the doorway
and I turn my head
to see her,
my gaze does not alight
first on her face,
but on the place
nearer to the threshhold;
there, where
your dear face would be
when you would step in
with bright joy,
as you used to, my little daughter.

When your mother steps
into the doorway
with the gleam of a candle,
it always seems to me as if
you came in as well,
slipping in behind her,
just as you used to come into the room!
O you, a father's cell,
alas! how quickly
you extinguish the gleam of joy!

by Friedrich Rückert

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