"...Poetically Man Dwells..." § 221

Thus the unknown god appears as the: unknown by way of the sky's manifestness. This appearance is the measure against which man measures himself.

A strange measure, perplexing it would seem to the common notions of mortals, inconvenient to the cheap omniscience of everyday opinion, which likes to claim that it is the standard for all thinking and reflection.

A strange measure for ordinary and in particular also for all merely scientific ideas, certainly not a palpable stick,or rod but in truth simpler to handle than they, provided our hands do not abruptly grasp but are guided by gestures befitting the measure here to be taken. This is done by a taking which at no time clutches at the standard but rather takes it in a concentrated perception, a gathered taking-in, that remains a listening.

But why should this measure, which is so strange to us men of today, be addressed to man and imparted by the measure-taking of poetry? Because only this measure gauges the very nature of man. For man dwells by spanning the "on the earth" and the "beneath the sky." This "on" and "beneath" belong together. Their interplay is the span that man traverses at every moment insofar as he is as an earthly being. In a fragment (Stuttgart edition, 2, 1, p. 334) Hölderlin says:

Always, love! the earth
moves and heaven holds.

Because man is, in his enduring the dimension, his being must now and again be measured out. That requires a measure which involves at once the whole dimension in one. To discern this measure, to gauge it as the measure, and to accept it as the measure, means for the poet to make poetry. Poetry is this measure-taking— its taking, indeed, for the dwelling of man. For immediately after the words "It's the measure of man" there follow the lines: "Full of merit, yet poetically, man dwells on this earth."