First, in 1866, Vassily Kandinsky was born today. Kandinsky's abstract paintings in the early 20th Century are among my favorites; I remember having a Kandinsky poster in one of my first apartments.
Also born today, in 1875, was the great Austrian poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. I loved the "Duino Elegies" when I was in college. Here's a snippet about the strangeness of life and death:
It is truly strange to no longer inhabit the earth,to no longer practice customs barely acquired,not to give a meaning of human futurityto roses, and other expressly promising things:no longer to be what one was in endlessly anxious hands,and to set aside even one’s ownproper name like a broken plaything.Strange: not to go on wishing one’s wishes. Strangeto see all that was once in place, floatingso loosely in space.