The Thinker as Poet

May 18, 2011

“When the early morning light quietly
grows above the mountains . . . .

The world’s darkening never reaches
to the light of Being.

We are too late for the gods and too
early for Being. Being’s poem,
just begun, is man.

To head towards a star–this only.

To think is to confine yourself to a
single thought that one day stands
still like a star in the world’s sky.”

“When in early summer the lonely narcissi
bloom hidden in the meadow and the
rock-rose gleams under the maple . . . .

The splendor of the simple.

Only image formed keeps the vision.
Yet image formed rests in the poem.

How could cheerfulness stream
through us if we wanted to shun
sadness?

Pain gives of its healing power
where we least expect it.”


Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstadter, New York: Harper, 1971: 4, 7.

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One Response to “The Thinker as Poet”

  1. dan Says:

    Thank you for quoting this poem by Heidegger. I just finished reading the Letter on Humanism, and this quote had been placed at the beginning of the letter by the book’s editor, David Krell.


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