reached us, has struck us, so that we are—and remain—those who are struck by it.
In Hölderlin's poetry we experience the poem poetically. "The poem"—this word now reveals its ambiguity. "The poem" can mean poems in general, the concept of the poem that holds true for all the poems of world literature. But "the poem" can also mean that exceptional poem, the one poem which is marked out to concern us uniquely and fatefully, the one which is the poesis of the destiny wherein we stand, whether we know it or not, whether we are ready to submit to it or not.
We can also see from such titles as "The Poet's Vocation" and "The Poet's Courage," and from these poems themselves in their numerous versions, that Hölderlin has devoted his poetic activity to the poet and his destiny, and thus to the poem's proper character, its own unique nature.
Hölderlins poetic thinking also treats of poetry in the form of essays and sketches: "On the Procedure of the Poetic Spirit," "On the Differences Between the Poetic Forms," and "On the Parts of the Poem" (GSA IV, p. 241ff.). This is even more obvious from the poetic insight exhibited in his translations of "The Tragedies of Sophocles," in his "Commentaries to Oedipus," and "Commentaries to Antigone" (GSA V, 193ff, 263ff).
Moreover, these "Essays on ..." and "Commentaries to ..." are based on constant self-examination of his poetic experience of his poem and what determines it.
In the depths of his being, so easily shattered and so frequently frightened off, Hölderlin knows in all clarity the proper form of his poem, as he tells us in the third stanza of his elegy "Bread and Wine" which he dedicated to his poet-friend Heinze and to whom he calls (GSA II, p. 91, lines 41ff.):
... So come! That we may behold the open,
So that we may seek what is our own, however far it may be.
... to each also is allotted his own,
Each one goes and comes to the place that he can.