"As When On a Holiday..." ❦ 87

step into the open. Into manifestation, and so too into the realm of human perception, comes "only now" "what came to pass before, though scarcely felt." "Before" signifies here in advance of everything real, that oldest of times which was formerly perceptible only in its first glimmering, the very first, primordial rising of what has since become present in all, but since then has also been inverted and has even fallen into forgottenness: "Nature" (φύσις). But how did this primordial advent prevail, which now begins to awaken, and to become manifest "anew"?


And they who smiling tended our fields for us,
In the form of servants, they are known,
The all-living, the powers of the gods.


The nature that is "all-present" and "all-creative" is now called the "all-living." To be sure, this word is applied to the powers of the gods, the powers by which gods are capable of what is theirs to do, and by which they themselves are what they are. But these powers do not derive from the gods." Rather the gods themselves have their being by virtue of them, the powers which, as "all-living," hold everything, even the gods, in "life." "Before," nature, "smiling," tended "the fields" for men. With a fleeting hint back to the first stanza, the word "fields" stands here for everything on which and from which men live. Formerly, the greeting of the holy was "smiling," all-present, tireless, friendly, quite untroubled if the men "scarcely felt" what was then happening. In their hurry toward the tangible, men took what was granted by nature, divinely beautiful, only for their own use and service, and reduced the all-present to the form of a servant. But she permitted this, "smiling" in the tranquil resignation of the primordial, unconcerned with successes; she left it to men to misconstrue the holy. When "nature" is misconstrued in that way, each thing "is" no more than what it accomplishes. The truth, however, is that each thing always accomplishes only that which it is. But everything, even every humanity, "is" only according to the "way" in which nature, coming to presence through itself, the holy, remains present within it.

But if it is only the poets who are lightly embraced by all-present nature,