Rainer Maria Rilke - The Great Night

I'd often stand at the window started the day before,
stand and stare at you. It all seemed to warn me off,
the strange city, whose unconfiding landscape
gloomed as though I didn't exist. The nearest
things didn't mind if I misunderstood them. The street
would thrust itself up to the lamp, and I'd see it was strange.
A sympathisable room up there, revealed in the lamplight:
I'd begin to share: they'd notice, and close the shutters.
I'd stand. Then a child would cry, and I'd know the mothers
in the houses, what they availed, and I'd know as well
the inconsolable grounds of infinite crying.
Or else a voice would sing, and what was expected
be just a little surpassed; or an old man coughed below,
full of reproach, as if his body were in the right
against a gentler world. Or else, when an hour was striking,
I'd begin to count too late and let it escape me.
As a strangle little boy, when at last they invite him to join them,
cannot catch the ball, and is quite unable
to share the game the rest are so easily playing,
but stands and gazes - whither? - I'd stand, and, all at once,
realize you were being friends with me, playing with me, grown-up
Night, and I'd gaze at you. While towers
were raging, and while, with its hidden fate,
a city stood round me, and undivinable mountains
camped against me, and Strangeness, in narrowing circles,
hungrily prowled round my casual flares of perception:
then, lofty Night,
you were not ashamed to recognize me. Your breathing
went over me; your smile upon all that spacious
consequence passed into me.