She sat there like the others at their tea.
At first, it seemed to me she raised her cup
not quite the way the others held theirs up.
She smiled—an almost painful thing to see.
And when at last they rose from tea, and spoke,
and walked off languidly, at random through
the many rooms, still laughing at some joke,
or talking, there she was: she walked a few
steps back, a bit reserved, like someone who’ll
be singing soon before a packed salon.
From out-of-doors, light came to settle on
her joyful eyes as if upon a pool.
She followed slowly, with some hesitation,
as if an obstacle remained to try
her, yet as if—after a transformation—
she knew she would no longer walk, but fly.
–Ranier Maria Rilke