Why, then, do we have to be human
and keep running from the fate
we long for?
Oh, not because of such a thing as happiness—
that fleeting gift before loss begins.
Not from curiosity, or to exercise the heart...
But because simply to be here is so much
and because what is here seems to need us,
this vanishing world that concerns us strangely—
us, the most vanishing of all. Once
for each, only once. Once and no more.
And we too: just once. Never again. But
to have lived even once,
to have been of Earth—that cannot be taken from us.
From the Ninth Duino Elegy