our own heart always exceeds us …

December 10, 2011

in Art & Literature,Spirituality

Weren’t you astonished by the caution of human gestures on Attic gravestones?
Wasn’t love and departure placed so gently on shoulders
that it seemed to be made of a different substance than in our world?
Remember the hands, how weightlessly they rest, though there is power in the torsos.
These self-mastered figures know: “We can go this far,
this is ours, to touch one another this lightly; the gods can press down harder upon us.
But that is the gods’ affair.”

If only we too could discover a pure, contained, human place,
our own strip of fruit-bearing soil between river and rock.
Four our own heart always exceeds us, as theirs did.
And we can no longer follow it,
gazing into images that soothe it or into the godlike bodies where,
measured more greatly, it achieves a greater repose.

from the end of Rilke’s Second Duino Elegy

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: