Rilke, Rainer Maria - 21 Fifth elegy
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
But who are they, tell me, these Travellers, even more transient than we are ourselves,
urgently, from their earliest days, wrung out for whom – to please whom,
by a never-satisfied will?
Yet it wrings them, bends them, twists them, and swings them, throws them, and catches them again: as if from oiled more slippery air,
so they land on the threadbare carpet, worn by their continual leaping,
this carpet lost in the universe.
Stuck on like a plaster, as if the suburban sky had wounded the earth there.
And scarcely there, upright, there and revealed: the great capital letter of Being.........
and already the ever-returning grasp wrings the strongest of men again, in jest,
as King August the Strong would crush a tin plate.
Ah, and around this centre, the rose of watching flowers and un-flowers.
Round this stamp, this pistil, caught in the pollen of its own flowering,
Fertilised again to a shadow-fruit of disinterest,
their never-conscious, seeming-to-smile, disinterest,
gleaming lightly, on surface thinness