Rainer Maria Rilke
On Being and the Transitory

Transitoriness is everywhere plunging into a profound Being. And therefore all the forms of the here and now are not merely to be used in a time limited way, but so far as we can, instated within those superior significances in which we share. Not, though, in the Christian sense (from which I more and more passionately withdraw), but, in a purely terrestrial, deeply terrestrial, blissfully terrestrial consciousness, to instate what is here seen and touched within the wider, within the widest orbit—that is what is required. Not within a Beyond, whose shadow darkens the earth, but within a whole, within the whole . . . For our task is to stamp this provisional, perishing earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its being may rise again, “invisibly”, in us. We are the bees of the Invisible.


SOURCE: From a letter to Halewicz, Duinio Elegies (London: Hogarth, 1963), p. 157.


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