from The Eighth Duino Elegy
And we: spectators, always, everywhere,
devoted to everything and never free of it!
It fills us to the brim. We arrange it. It perishes.
We arrange it again and perish ourselves.
Who turned us around this way, so that we,
whatever we may do, always are in the posture
of someone who’s going away? As he on
the last hill, that will show him his whole
valley one last time, turns round, pauses, lingers—
we live that way forever saying goodbye.
Tr. from the German by Robert Kelly