being. The word for the word is truly a prize, yet it can never be won for the poet's land. Can it be won for thinking? When thinking tries to pursue the poetic word, it turns out that the word, that saying has no being. Yet our current notions resist such an imputation. Everybody, after all, sees and hears words in writing and in sound. They are; they can be like things, palpable to the senses. To offer a crude example, we only need to open a dictionary. It is full of printed things. Indeed, all kinds of things. Plenty of terms, and not a single word, because a dictionary can neither grasp nor keep the word by which the terms become words and speak as words. Where does the word, where does Saying belong?
Thus the poetic experience with the word gives us a meaningful hint. The word—no thing, nothing that is, no being: but we have an understanding of things when the word for them is available. Then the thing "is." Yet, what about this "is"? The thing is. The "is" itself—is it also a thing, a step above the other, set on top of it like a cap? The "is" cannot be found anywhere as a thing attached to a thing. As with the word, so it is with the "is." It belongs no more among the things that are than does the word.
Of a sudden, we are awakening from the slumber of hastily formed opinions, and are struck by the sight of something other.
What the poetic experience with language says of the word implies the relation between the "is" which itself is not, and the word which is in the same case of not being a being.
Neither the "is" nor the word attain to thinghood, to Being, nor does the relation between "is" and the word, the word whose task it is to give an "is" in each given instance. But even so, neither the "is" nor the word and its Saying can be cast out into the void of mere nothingness. What, then, does the poetic experience with the word show as our thinking pursues it? It points to something thought·provoking and memorable with which thinking has been charged from the beginning, even though in a veiled manner. It shows what is there and yet "is" not. The word, too, belongs to what is