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Meditation on a Line From Novalis

ISSUE:  Winter 2016

Wo gehen wir denn hin? Immer nach Hause.


When his beloved Sophie died, Novalis 
Lay by her grave and wept himself to sleep.
On the third night she met him in a dream.
He woke transformed, longing for the last trance,
“When sleep shall be without waking.” Therein,
Observed one critic, “lies his originality”—
Death was not tragedy but a romance.
Where are we going? Home, always back home. 

He rarely finished any piece of writing—
“The urge toward perfection is a disease.”
Whether through genius or incompetence,
His fragments blur together—but into what?
Not quite philosophy or even art,
But the disclosure of some primal secret.
“Love is the final purpose of the world.”
Where are we going? Home, always back home. 

“Our life is not a dream but must become one.”
He left philosophy to study mining
And prospered in the work. He wrote at night
Drafting out stories that refused to end.
He died at twenty-eight. Schelling kept watch
Beside the poet’s sickbed, marveling 
How joyfully he contemplated death.
Where are we going? Home, always back home.


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