Where there are seasons

Last updated 2014-10-11 09:10:19 SGT

Seasons amaze me. On an intellectual level, particularly as a student of astronomy and literature, I knew they existed, but having grown up in Singapore, my only impression of them was that they were things that mostly happened to other people. But there are seasons here! And so now that I am in the thick of falling temperatures, with the trees outside my window turning red, I begin to understand the cultural significance and evocative power that the seasons (and specifically autumn) possess to people who know them well. In some ways I feel like a child again, facing an unfamiliar world with wonder borne of ignorance.

Unlike a child most children, though, I have a backlog of poems whose subtexts I can suddenly appreciate more fully. This perhaps makes it a little more fun.


Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,
als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.

Und in den Nächten fällt die schwere Erde
aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.

Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.
Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.

Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen
unendlich sanft in seinen Händen hält.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Das Buch der Bilder

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