Monthly Archives: March 2010

Words

Wonder or dream from distant land
I carried to my country’s strand

And waited till the twilight norn
Had found the name within her bourn—

Then I could grasp it close and strong
It blooms and shines now the front along…

Once I returned from happy sail,
I had a prize so rich and frail,

She sought for long and tidings told:
“No like of this these depths enfold.”

And straight it vanished from my hand,
The treasure never graced my land…

So I renounced and sadly see:
Where words break off no thing may be.

— Stefan George (tr. P. Hertz)

From Kafka’s diary

I was wise, if you like, because I was prepared for death at any moment, but not because I had taken care of everything that was given to me to do, rather because I had done none of it and could not even hope ever to do any of it.

*

Only not to overestimate what I have written, for in that way I make what is to be written unattainable.

— Kafka, Diaries (1912), tr. J Kresh