9th Duino Elegy
Why, if it’s possible to come into existence as laurel, say, a little darker green than other trees, with ripples edging each leaf (like a wind, smiling): why then do we have to be human, and keep running from the fate we are made for and long for? Oh, not because of Happiness – that fleeting gift before the loss begins.
Not from curiosity, or to exercise the heart, which the laurel could do too…. But because simply to be here is so much and because what is here seems to need us, this vanishing world that concerns us strangely – us, the most vanishing of all. Once for each, only once. Once and no more. And we, too: just once. Never again. But to have lived this once, even if only this once, to have been of earth — that cannot be taken from us