Page Three: The First Visitor
As she sleeps, the girl has further visitations. The foxes’ eyes grow bright and intent. They sit, look and wait. First comes the spider, on glittering legs that softly click. In the girl’s vision, he stands above her, gently swaying on eight jeweled legs.
“Did you forget what I told you? I spin my web out of myself, my very being, I spin in faith and wait. A clumsy animal passing by rips to shreds my weaving. I spin again and wait. My existence is one of letting go, of casting out the threads, in faith that all I need will come to me. And in time it does.
“What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated as things do by some immense storm
we would become strong too, and not need names.
When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestler’s sinews
grew long like metal strings
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.
Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
That is how he grows: By being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings. “
Excerpt from The Man Watching by Rainer Maria Rilke