Posted by: gdevi | April 30, 2009

Early, earthly departures

How do they suffer all of this? I mean our young students. What a month. Two student deaths. One a suicide. Young man just hung himself in the basement of his student apartment. No one knows why. His girlfriend is in my class and the young woman ( a very nice girl and a good student) is barely functioning. Campus barely recovered from it two weeks ago and yesterday another young man drowned in the river. He was swimming at night, no life guard on duty, the water is barely thawed and very cold, got a cramp and drowned. His friend tried to drag him out but she was small and he was a big kid. The girl is devastated. One of his best friends is in my class. Again a very nice, smart student. Came for the final exam but could not take it; just completely broke down. I could only hold her. I will give her an incomplete. The poor families. What parent wouldn’t exchange these sad places with their children? Just a sad sad month.

Here is Rilke from Duino Elegies:

“Of course, it is strange to inhabit the earth no longer,

to give up customs one barely had time to learn,
not to see roses and other promising Things in terms of a human future;
no longer to be what one was in infinitely anxious hands;
to leave even one’s own first name behind,
forgetting it as easily as a child abandons a broken toy.
Strange to no longer desire one’s desires.
Strange to see meanings that clung together once, floating away in every direction.
And being dead is hard work and full of retrieval before one can gradually feel a trace of eternity.
Though the living are wrong to believe in the too-sharp distinctions which
they themselves have created.
Angels (they say) don’t know whether it is the living they are moving among, or the dead.
The eternal torrent whirls all ages along in it, through both realms forever,
and their voices are drowned out in its thunderous roar.
In the end, those who were carried off early no longer need us: 

they are weaned from earth’s sorrows and joys,
as gently as children outgrow the soft breasts of their mothers.
But we, who do need such great mysteries,
we for whom grief is so often the source of our spirit’s growth–:
could we exist without them?”

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