The Thinker As Poet :: Martin Heidegger

The Thinker As Poet

(Aus der Erfahrung des Denkens)

Martin Heidegger (1947)

* * * * *

Way and weighing

Stile and saying

On a single walk are found.

Go bear without halt

Question and default

On your single pathway bound.

* * *

When the early morning light quietly grows above the mountains….

The world’s darkening never reaches to the light of Being.

We are too late for the gods and too early for Being. Being’s poem, just begun, is man.

To head toward a star—this only.

To think is to confine yourself to a single thought that one day stands still like a star in the world’s sky.

* * *

When the little windwheel outside the cabin window sings in the gathering thunderstorm….

When thought’s courage stems from the bidding of Being, then destiny’s language thrives.

As soon as we have the thing before our eyes, and in our hearts an ear for the word, thinking prospers.

Few are experienced enough in the difference between an object of scholarship and a matter of thought.

If in thinking there were already adversaries and not mere opponents, then thinking’s case would be more auspicious.

* * *

When through a rent in the rain-clouded sky a ray of the sun suddenly glides

over the gloom of the meadows….

We never come to thoughts. They come to us.

That is the proper hour of discourse.

Discourse cheers us to companionable reflection. Such a reflection neither parades polemical opinions nor does it tolerate complaisant agreement. The sail of thinking keeps trimmed hard to the wind of the matter.

From such companionship a few perhaps may rise to be journeymen in the craft of thinking. So that one of them, unforeseen, may become a master.

* * *

When in early summer lonely narcissi bloom hidden in the meadow and the rock-rose gleams under the maple….

The splendor of the simple.

Only image formed keeps the vision. Yet image formed rests in the poem.

How could cheerfulness stream through us if we wanted to shun sadness?

Pain gives of its healing power where we least expect it.

* * *

When the wind, shifting quickly, grumbles in the rafters of the cabin, and the

weather threatens to become nasty….

Three dangers threaten thinking.

The good and thus wholesome

danger is the nighness of the singing poet.

The evil and thus keenest danger is thinking itself. It must think against itself, which it can only seldom do.

The bad and thus muddled danger

is philosophizing.

* * *

When on a summer’s day the butterfly settles on the flower and, wings

closed, sways with it in the


All our heart’s courage is the echoing response to the

first call of Being which gathers our thinking into the play of the world.

In thinking all things

become solitary and slow.

Patience nurtures magnanimity.

He who thinks greatly must err greatly.

* * *

When the mountain brook in night’s

stillness tells of its plunging

over the boulders….

The oldest of the old follows behind us in our thinking and yet it

comes to meet us.

That is why thinking holds to the coming of what has been, and

is remembrance.

To be old means: to stop in time at that place where the unique thought of a thought train has swung into its joint.

We may venture the step back out

of philosophy into the thinking of Being as soon as we have grown familiar with the provenance of thinking.

* * *

When in the winter nights snowstorms

tear at the cabin and one morning the landscape is hushed in its blanket of


Thinking’s saying would be stilled in

its being only by becoming unable

to say that which must remain


Such inability would bring thinking

face to face with its matter.

What is spoken is never, and in no

language, what is said.

That a thinking is, ever and suddenly—

whose amazement could fathom it?

* * *

When the cowbells keep tinkling from

the slopes of the mountain valley

where the herds wander slowly….

The poetic character of thinking is

still veiled over.

Where it shows itself, it is for a

long time like the utopism of

a half-poetic intellect.

But poetry that thinks is in truth

the topology of Being.

This topology tells Being the

whereabouts of its actual


* * *

When the evening light, slanting into

the woods somewhere, bathes the tree

trunks in gold….

Singing and thinking are the stems

neighbor to poetry.

They grow out of Being and reach into

its truth.

Their relationship makes us think of what Holderlin sings of the trees of the


“And to each other they remain unknown,

So long as they stand, the neighboring


* * *

Forests spread

Brooks plunge

Rocks persist

Mist defuses

Meadows wait

Springs well

Winds dwell

Blessing muses

4 thoughts on “The Thinker As Poet :: Martin Heidegger

  1. I guess my name is vicki, but its not…its snigs. I like this code name system that mom set up, shes very tricky. Just saying hi, youre blog is cool, this is my first time to it suprisingly. is it all just like things you like and you post? I’ll see you in about a week.

  2. “And to each other they remain unknown,

    So long as they stand, the neighboring


    a similar indifference in a Chinese Zen poem:

    摧殘枯木倚寒林 幾度逢春不變心

    The dry-dead trunks lying in the cold woods show no interest in the recurrent Spring.

  3. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS.
    I don’t understand the reason why I am unable to join it.
    Is there anyone else having the same RSS problems?
    Anybody who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

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