You, you only, exist.
We pass away, till at last,
our passing is so immense
that you arise: beautiful moment,
in all your suddenness,
arising in love, or enchanted
in the contraction of work.
To you I belong, however time may
wear me away. From you to you
I go commanded. In between
the garland is hanging in chance; but if you
take it up and up and up: look:
all becomes festival!
Rainer Maria Rilke
“You only exist/We pass away,till at last/Our passing is so immense/that you arise :beautiful moment”- the contrast here is between our transient existence and the permanence of the beautiful moment. The paradox is amusing: while we pass away , the moment exists and our passing is so immense that a beautiful moment arises. Our semi-permanent(slightly longer) existence contrasts with the brevity of the beautiful moment ,which by its definition is only a moment but exists for all time to come.
“To the beautiful moment” the poet belongs ,however much time wears him away.He moves between one beautiful moment and another. Then come the most beautiful lines of Rilke one has ever come across :
The garland is hanging in chance: but if you
take it up and up:look:
all becomes festival!”
In between the beautiful moments,the garland is hanging in chance and it is up to you to take it up and up so that it becomes a festival. It is a matter of chance that you pick some precious moments filled with happiness and if you can do it , happiness is all yours. One of the most optimistic poems of Rilke .
There is a vertical progression between one beautiful moment and another (from you to you I go commanded).In between the garland is hanging in chance . You should take it up and up,then look (down)
:all becomes festival .