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The absence that we are

 I have been trying to hit the nail on the head -to arrive at a precise assessment of what life is like.This doesn’t seem to work somehow. Has Rilke done it -the mischievous grin I see in his literary face,so to speak,seems to suggest it. It looks like he has upstaged it somehow. He cannot have been far wrong.Of course ,would it really matter to him in his present state of unbeing ? Why would he want to be one up on life?

 

The Future” by Rilke

The future: time’s excuse
to frighten us; too vast
a project, too large a morsel
for the heart’s mouth.

Future, who won’t wait for you?
Everyone is going there.
It suffices you to deepen
the absence that we are.

Translated by A. Poulin

“Time’s excuse to frighten us ” - an image reminiscent of John Donne or Andrew Marvell. But the next image“Too vast a project” sounds more ‘modern’ ,conveying a conscious plan to mould future activities to the achievement of a pre-decided objective.The next image draws from the sensory experience of taste-”too large a morsel for the heart’s mouth”-a very graphic image.

But the most fascinating image is “it suffices you to deepen the absence that we are” .Just think about it : as future grows ,the past deepens and with it our absence.

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