Sunday, May 11, 2008


Josephine's road, however, must go downhill. The time will soon come when her last notes sound and die into silence. She is a small episode in the eternal history of our people, and the people will get over the loss of her. Not that it will be easy for us; how can our gatherings take place in utter silence? Still, were they not silent even when Josephine was present? Was her actual piping notably louder and more alive than the memory of it will be? Was it not rather because Josephine's singing was already past losing in this way that our people in their wisdom prized it so highly? So perhaps we shall not miss her so much after all, while Josephine, redeemed from earthly sorrows which to her thinking lay in wait for all chosen spirits, will happily lose herself in the numberless throng of the heroes of our people, and soon, since we are no historians, will rise to the heights of redemption and be forgotten like all her brothers.

(Kafka, Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk)

Image: The dancer Wera Ouckama Knoop, whose sudden illness and death at the age of 19 inspired Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus.