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Rilke, Rainer Maria - 04 First Elegy



Type of spiritual experience


Mark Lancelot Symons:A Fairy Tale


A description of the experience

Duino Elegies – Rainer Maria Rilke [The First Elegy]

It is truly strange to no longer inhabit the earth,
to no longer practice customs barely acquired,
not to give a meaning of human futurity
to roses, and other expressly promising things:
no longer to be what one was in endlessly anxious hands,
and to set aside even one’s own
proper name like a broken plaything.

Strange: not to go on wishing one’s wishes.Strange
to see all that was once in place, floating
so loosely in space. And it’s hard being dead,
and full of retrieval, before one gradually feels
a little eternity.

Though the living all make the error of drawing too sharp a distinction.

Angels (they say) would often not know whether
they moved among living or dead.
The eternal current sweeps all the ages, within it,
through both the spheres,
forever, and resounds above them in both.

The source of the experience

Rilke, Rainer Maria

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image