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Rilke, Rainer Maria - 08 Second Elegy



Type of Spiritual Experience


The symbolism here is quite complex

John William Godward - Summer flowers

A description of the experience

Duino Elegies - The Second Elegy

For we, when we feel, evaporate:
oh, we breathe ourselves out and away:
from ember to ember, yielding us fainter fragrance.
Then someone may say to us:
‘Yes, you are in my blood, the room, the Spring-time is filling with you’.....
What use is that:
they cannot hold us,
we vanish inside and around them.
And those who are beautiful, oh, who holds them back?
Appearance, endlessly, stands up, in their face, and goes by.
Like dew from the morning grass, what is ours rises from us,
like the heat from a dish that is warmed.
O smile: where?
O upward gaze: new, warm, vanishing wave of the heart - :
oh, we are that.
Does the cosmic space, we dissolve into, taste of us then?
Do the Angels really only take back what is theirs, what has streamed out of them,
or is there sometimes, as if by an oversight, something of our being, as well?
Are we as mingled with their features, as there is vagueness in the faces of pregnant women?
They do not see it in the swirling return to themselves.

(How should they see it?)

The source of the experience

Rilke, Rainer Maria

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