When your mother has grown older,
And you have grown older,
When what was once easy and effortless
Now becomes a burden,
When her dear, faithful eyes
No longer see life as they once did,
When her feet, grown tired,
No longer want to carry her as she walks —
Then give her your arm for support;
Accompany her with gladness and joy.
The hour will come when, weeping
You will accompany her on her final walk.
And if she asks for something, then answer her.
And if she asks again, then speak.
And if she asks yet again, respond to her,
Not stormily, but with gentle calm.
And if she cannot understand you well,
Explain everything to her joyfully.
The hour will come, the bitter hour,
When her mouth will ask for nothing more.
* “Denk es,” from the Sunday Morgenpost, Munich, May 14, 1925