"Homecoming / To Kindred Ones" ❦ 43

this, in learning to know it? Yet we never know a mystery by unveiling or analyzing it to death, but only in such a way that we preserve the mystery as mystery. But how can we preserve it—this mystery of nearness—without our knowing it? For the sake of this knowledge there must always be one who first returns home and says the mystery again and again:

But the best, the real find, which lies beneath the rainbow
Of holy peace, is reserved for young and old.

"The treasure," which is most proper to the homeland, "the German," is reserved. The nearness to the origin is a nearness which still holds something back in reserve. It withholds the most joyful. It preserves and saves it for those who are coming; but this nearness does not take away the most joyful, it only lets it appear precisely as saved. In the essence of nearness there comes to pass a concealed reserving. That it reserves the near is the secret of the nearness to the most joyful. The poet knows that when he calls the reserved "the real find" that is, something he has found, he says something that runs counter to common sense. To say that something is near while it remains distant means, after all, either violating a fundamental rule of ordinary thought, the principle of contradiction, or else playing with empty words, or else making an outrageous statement. That is why the poet, almost as soon as he has brought himself to say his words about the mystery of the reserving nearness, interrupts himself:

I talk like a fool.

But he talks nevertheless. The poet must talk, for

It is joy.

Is it just any indefinite joy over something or other, or is it the joy which is joy only because in it the essence of all joy unfolds itself? What is joy? The original essence of joy is learning to become at home within a nearness to the origin. For in this nearness there draws near in greeting that brightening in which gaiety appears. The poet comes home by