At first a childhood, boundless, with no aim,
no self-denial. O unconscious bliss.
Then sudden terror, school and rules and shame,
constraint, temptation, fall into otherness.
Defiance. Now the bent becomes the bender,
makes others pay in kind for his defeat.
Loved, feared, a champion, friend, defender,
bully and conqueror, to beat and beat.
Then on his own in the cold, wide, weightless air.
Yet deep within the second self’s redoubt
a taking breath for what at first was there…
When from His ambush God came rushing out.
– Rilke (trans. M. Hamburger)