there—perhaps not merely "too" but first of all, and even in such a way such that the word, the nature of the word, conceals within itself that which gives being. If our thinking does justice to the matter, then we may never say of the word that it is, but rather that it gives—not in the sense that words are given by an "it," but that the word itself gives. The word itself is the giver. What does it give? To go by the poetic experience and by the most ancient tradition of thinking, the word gives Being. Our thinking, then, would have to seek the word, the give which itself is never given, in this "there is that which gives."
We are familiar with the expression "there is, there are" in many usages, such as "There are strawberries on the sunny slope," il y a, es gibt, there are, strawberries; we can find them as something that is there on the slope. In our present reflection, the expression is used differently. We do not mean "There is the word"—we mean "by virtue of the gift of the word there is, the word gives ... " The whole spook about the "givenness" of things, which many people justly fear, is blown away. But what is memorable remains, indeed it only now comes to radiant light. This simple, ungraspable situation which we call up with the phrase "it, the word, gives," reveals itself as what is properly worthy of thought, but for whose definition all standards are still lacking in every way. Perhaps the poet knows them. But his poetry has learned renunciation, yet has lost nothing by the renunciation. Meanwhile, the prize escapes him nonetheless. Indeed. But it escapes him in the sense that the word is denied. The denial is a holding-back. And here precisely it comes to light how astounding a power the word possesses. The prize does in no way crumble into a nothing that is good for nothing. The word does not sink into a flat inability to say. The poet does not abdicate the word. It is true, the prize does withdraw into the mysterious wonder that makes us wonder. This is why, as the preamble to "The song" says, the poet is still pondering, now even more than before: he is still framing an utterance, fitting together a saying, otherwise than he did