Above the passage and change,
more wide and more free,
your foresong yet endures,
God with the lyre.
Sufferings are not recognized,
no one is learning to love,
and what in death displaces us
is unrevealed.
Over the land only song
sanctifies and celebrates.
Wandelt sich rasch auch die Welt
wie Wolkengestalten,
a lies Vollendete fällt
heim zum Uralten.
Über dem Wandel und Gang,
weiter und freier,
währt noch dein Vor-Gesang,
Gott mit der Leier.
Nicht sind die Leiden erkannt,
nicht ist die Liebe gelernt,
und was im Tod uns enfernt
ist nicht entschleiert.
Einzig das Lied überm Land
heiligt und feiert.

Meanwhile even the track of the sacred has become unrecognizable. It is an open question whether we still experience the sacred as the track to the godhead of the divine, or whether what we now encounter is only a track to the sacred. It is not clear what this track to a track could be. It is questionable how such a track would show itself to us.

The time is desolate because it lacks the unhiddenness of the essence of pain, death, and love. This desolation is itself desolate because the essential realm in which pain and death and love belong together is withdrawn. Hiddenness exists so long as the realm where they belong together is the abyss of being. However, song still remains and gives a name to the land. What is song itself? How is a mortal capable of it? Where does song sing from? l low far does it reach into the abyss?

In order to judge whether or to what extent Rilke is a poet in a desolate time, in order therefore to know what poets are for, we will try to set a few stakes on the path to the abyss. For stakes we will take a few basic words of


Off the Beaten Track (GA 5) by Martin Heidegger