Even When We Don’t Reach It

L’Homme qui marche (The Walking Man), Auguste Rodin, 1907

Having eliminated all anecdotal details to focus on the sensation of movement, Rodin produced an unprecedented and powerfully expressive interpretation of it, reiterating the force that had so captivated him when standing before incomplete antique statues and Michelangelo’s unfinished works.



“Schon ist mein Blick am Hügel, dem besonnten,

dem Wege, den ich kaum begann, voran.

So fasst uns das, was wir nicht fassen konnten,

voller Erscheinung, aus der Ferne an—

und wandelt uns, auch wenn wirs nicht erreichen,

in jenes, das wir, kaum es ahnend, sind;

ein Zeichen weht, erwidernd unserm Zeichen . . .

Wir aber spüren nur den Gegenwind.”

Rainer Maria Rilke







“Already my gaze is upon the hill, the sunny one,

at the end of the path which I’ve only just begun.

So we are grasped, by that which we could not grasp,

at such great distance, so fully manifest—

and it changes us, even when we do not reach it,

into something that, hardly sensing it, we already are;

a sign appears, echoing our own sign . . .

But what we sense is the wind against us.”

Translation by Robert Bly


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