something that is rather a burden and an unease. But the word we are using-the German "fremd," the Old High German "fram"—really means: forward to somewhere else, underway toward ..., onward to the encounter with what is kept in store for it. The strange goes forth, ahead. But it does not roam aimlessly, without any kind of determination. The strange element goes in its search toward the site when: it may stay in its wandering. Almost unknown to itself, the "strange" is already following the call that calls it on the way into its own.

The poet calls the soul "something strange on the earth." The earth is that very place which the soul's wandering could not reach so far. The soul only seeks the earth; it does not flee from it. This fulfills the soul's being: in her wandering to seek the earth so that she may poetically build and dwell upon it, and thus may be able to save the earth as earth. The soul, then, is not by any means first of all soul, and then, besides and for whatever reason, also a stranger who does not belong on earth.

On the contrary, the sentence:

Something strange is the soul on the earth

gives a name to the essential being of what is called soul. The sentence does not predicate something about the soul whose nature is already known, as though the point were merely to make the supplementary statement that the soul had suffered the unfitting and thus strange accident of finding neither refuge nor response on earth. The soul, on the contrary, qua soul is fundamentally, by its nature, "something strange on the earth." Thus it is always underway, and in its wandering follows where its nature draws it. We, meanwhile, are pressed by this question: whither has this "something strange," in the sense just made clear, been called to turn its steps? A stanza from the third part of the poem "Sebastian in Dream" (99) gives the answer:

O how still is a walk down the blue river's bank
To ponder forgotten things, when in leafy boughs.
The thrush called to a strange thing to go under.