Does Time, as it passes, really destroy?

by Rainer Maria Rilke

English version by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy
Original Language German

Does Time, as it passes, really destroy?
It may rip the fortress from its rock;
but can this heart, that belongs to God,
be torn from Him by circumstance?

Are we as fearfully fragile
as fate would have us believe?
Can we ever be severed
from childhood's deep promise?

Ah, the knowledge of impermanence
that haunts our days
is their very fragrance.

We in our striving think we should last forever,
but could we be used by the Divine
if we were not ephemeral?

-- from In Praise of Mortality: Rilke's Duino Elegies & Sonnets to Orpheus, by Rainer Maria Rilke / Translated by Joanna Macy

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Does Time, as it