This study analyzes the temporality of «Wie wenn am Feiertage...,» a pivotal poem by Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843). After showing how a straightforward philological reading leads only to aporia, the author turns to Martin Heidegger and develops a new way of reading for temporality based on his phenomenological hermeneutics. The path taken covers three of his most important and influential essays from the 1930's, including «The Origin of the Work of Art». In the course of these readings the important but hitherto overlooked concept of the «decision» facing humanity in Heidegger's thought is brought out and brought into relation with Hölderlin's poetry. Time as
kairós and as the «holiday» is shown to be fundamentally different from the uniform temporality assumed by both natural science and poststructuralism.