Monday, March 26, 2007

the dead and the living

What we all need most urgently now: to realize that transience is not separation -- for we, transient as we are, have it in common with those who have passed from us, and they and we exist together in one being where separation is just as unthinkable. Could we otherwise understand such poems if they had been nothing but the utterance of someone who was going to be dead in the future? Don't such poems continually address inside of us, in addition to what is found there now, also something unlimited and unrecognizable? I do not think that the spirit can make itself anywhere so small that it would concern only our temporal existence and our here and now: where it surges toward us there we are the dead and the living all at once.

- Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Poet's Guide to Life: The Wisdom of Rilke, p. 25

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