The spring is back. The earth is like a child
who’s learnt a heap of poems off by heart:
so many of them, and how hard she toiled!
But she wins prizes now; she has them pat.

At school, her teacher was a strict old man,
although we liked the whiteness of his beard.
Now, when we ask her please to give a name
to colours green or blue, she knows the word!

Earth, you’re in luck; today’s a holiday.
We children want to catch you; come and play.
Whoever laughs the most will win the game.

Her teacher’s lessons, wearisome and long,
are printed in each root, each stiff, straight stem.
And listen now: she’s turned them into song!
~ Rainer Maria Rilke, "Sonnets to Orpheus Part One: XXI", as translated by John Richmond