February 11, 2010

from The Ninth Duino Elegy

Oh not because happiness exists,
that too-hasty profit snatched from approaching loss.


But because truly being here is so much; because everything here
apparently needs us, this fleeting world, which in some strange way
keeps calling to us. Us, the most fleeting of all.


...Ah, but what can we take along
into that other realm? Not the art of looking,
which is learned so slowly, and nothing that happened here. Nothing.
The sufferings, then. And, above all, the heaviness,
and the long experience of love, - just what is wholly

- from the Ninth Duino Elegy, Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell
(as appeared in The Time Traveler's Wife)

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