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Annunciation

9 Apr

Annunciation

By Rainier Maria Rilke

(Words of the Angel)

 

 

You are not nearer God than we;
he is far from everyone.
and yet your hands most wonderfully
reveal his benison.
From woman’s sleeves none ever grew
so ripe, so shimmeringly;
I am the day, I am the dew,
you, Lady are the Tree.

Pardon, now my long journey’s done,
I had forgot to say
what he who sat in the sun,
grand in his gold array,
told me to tell you, pensive one
(space has bewildered me).
I am the start of what’s begun,
you Lady, are the Tree.

I spread my wings out wide and rose,
the space around grew less;
your little house quite overflows
with my abundant dress.
But still you keep your solitude
and hardly notice me:
I’m but a breeze within the wood,
you, Lady are the Tree.
The angels tremble in their choir,
grow pale, and separate:
never were longing and desire
so vague and yet so great.
Something perhaps is going to be
that you perceived in dream.
Hail to you! for my soul can see
that you are ripe and teem.

You lofty gate, that any day
may open for our good:
you eat my longing songs assay,
my word – I know now – lost its way
in you as in a wood.
And thus your last dream was designed
to be fulfilled by me.
God looked at me: he made me blind . . .
You, Lady are the Tree.

Selected Poems RILKE; Translated with an Introduction by J. B. Leishman (Penguin Books Ltd. Harmonsworth, Middlesex, England Copyright 1964 Reprinted 1967) p.26

In July 1902, a month before his first arrival in Paris, Rilke had published the first edition of his Book of Images (Buch der Bilder), containing poems written between 1898 and 1901, poems which might perhaps be described as neo-romantic, with, at their best, a peculiar combination of the descriptive, the evocative, and the symbolic, but still, for the most part. and in comparison with what he was soon to achieve, more or less obviously ‘poetic’ treatments of obviously ‘poetic’ subjects and moods.

Ibid. p.14

rilke-double

The reed is comrade to him who has lost his Friend,

7 Apr

Listen to the tale of the reed flute
Complaining of the pain of separation:
“Since they tore me from the reed-bed,
My laments move man and woman to tears
O, for a bosom torn like mine with the wound of
severance,
That I may tell it of the pain of longing!
He who is far from his place of origin
Longs for the Day of the Return
In every company I tell my wailing song.
I have consorted with the unhappy and the joyous;
Each one becomes my friend for his own sake;
None asks the secrets of my heart.
My secret is not far from my plaint,
But eye and ear lack light to discern.”
Body from Soul and Soul from body are not veiled,
Yet to none is it given to see the Soul.
A fire is this noise of the reed-flute!
May whoso has no fire be nought.
The fire of Love has caught the reed;
The ferment of Love has changed the wine.
The reed is comrade to him who has lost his Friend,
It strains rend the veil from our hearts….
It tells of the mystic path of blood,
I recounts the love of Manjun for Layla.
In our woe life’s days are grown untimely;
My days move hand in hand with anguish.
Though they pass away thus, let them go!
Thou remainest, Incomparable Purity….
Yet he who is raw cannot understand ripeness,
Therefore my words must be brief:
Arise, oh my son, burst thy bonds and be free!
How long wilt though be fettered with gold and
silver?

Jalal al-Din Rumi:  Rumi (died 1273), the theologian of Persian poetry , came of an East Persian family which emigrated to Konya, the Saljuq capital of Muslim Anatolia (Rum), shortly before the Mongol invasions devastated Persia and Iraq.

But Rumi’s greatest work is the Mathnavi  “The Qur’an of the Persian Language,’ a vast poem containing fables, allegories and reflections on Sufi thought.  While it has little artistic unity, being apparently written in periods of inspiration over a long space of time.

Rumi also founded the Mawlawi or Mevlevi brotherhood, the “Whirling Dervishes,” whose mystical dance in the sama’, to recall the order of the heavenly spheres, is a sedate gyrating.  Sections of the  Mathnavi or theDiwan such as the superb opening “Song of the Reed Flute.” from theMathnavi, which plaintively tells of the soul’s longing for God, the Source of its existence, were chanted at these sessions.

John Alden Williams Ed., Great Religions of Modern Man, Islam (George Braziller, New York,1962 p. 162-163)

 

To seek a shelter in some happier star?

5 Apr

Sonnet to Science

 

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise?
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

EAP

The Whirling Dervishes

18 Mar

Listen to the tale of the reed flute
Complaining of the pain of separation:
“Since they tore me from the reed-bed,
My laments move man and woman to tears
O, for a bosom torn like mine with the wound of
severance,
That I may tell it of the pain of longing!
He who is far from his place of origin
Longs for the Day of the Return
In every company I tell my wailing song.
I have consorted with the unhappy and the joyous;
Each one becomes my friend for his own sake;
None asks the secrets of my heart.
My secret is not far from my plaint,
But eye and ear lack light to discern.”
Body from Soul and Soul from body are not veiled,
Yet to none is it given to see the Soul.
A fire is this noise of the reed-flute!
May whoso has no fire be nought.
The fire of Love has caught the reed;
The ferment of Love has changed the wine.
The reed is comrade to him who has lost his Friend,
It strains rend the veil from our hearts….
It tells of the mystic path of blood,
I recounts the love of Manjun for Layla.
In our woe life’s days are grown untimely;
My days move hand in hand with anguish.
Though they pass away thus, let them go!
Thou remainest, Incomparable Purity….
Yet he who is raw cannot understand ripeness,
Therefore my words must be brief:
Arise, oh my son, burst thy bonds and be free!
How long wilt though be fettered with gold and
silver?

Jalal al-Din Rumi:  Rumi (died 1273), the theologian of Persian poetry , came of an East Persian family which emigrated to Konya, the Saljuq capital of Muslim Anatolia (Rum), shortly before the Mongol invasions devastated Persia and Iraq.

 

But Rumi’s greatest work is the Mathnavi  “The Qur’an of the Persian Language,’ a vast poem containing fables, allegories and reflections on Sufi thought.  While it has little artistic unity, being apparently written in periods of inspiration over a long space of time.

Rumi also founded the Mawlawi or Mevlevi brotherhood, the “Whirling Dervishes,” whose mystical dance in the sama’, to recall the order of the heavenly spheres, is a sedate gyrating.  Sections of the  Mathnavi or theDiwan such as the superb opening “Song of the Reed Flute.” from theMathnavi, which plaintively tells of the soul’s longing for God, the Source of its existence, were chanted at these sessions.

John Alden Williams Ed., Great Religions of Modern Man, Islam (George Braziller, New York,1962 p. 162-163)

Annunciation

3 Feb

Annunciation

By Rainier Maria Rilke

(Words of the Angel)

You are not nearer God than we;
he is far from everyone.
and yet your hands most wonderfully
reveal his benison.
From woman’s sleeves none ever grew
so ripe, so shimmeringly;
I am the day, I am the dew,
you, Lady are the Tree.

Pardon, now my long journey’s done,
I had forgot to say
what he who sat in the sun,
grand in his gold array,
told me to tell you, pensive one
(space has bewildered me).
I am the start of what’s begun,
you Lady, are the Tree.

I spread my wings out wide and rose,
the space around grew less;
your little house quite overflows
with my abundant dress.
But still you keep your solitude
and hardly notice me:
I’m but a breeze within the wood,
you, Lady are the Tree.
The angels tremble in their choir,
grow pale, and separate:
never were longing and desire
so vague and yet so great.
Something perhaps is going to be
that you perceived in dream.
Hail to you! for my soul can see
that you are ripe and teem.

You lofty gate, that any day
may open for our good:
you eat my longing songs assay,
my word – I know now – lost its way
in you as in a wood.
And thus your last dream was designed
to be fulfilled by me.
God looked at me: he made me blind . . .
You, Lady are the Tree.

Selected Poems RILKE; Translated with an Introduction by J. B. Leishman (Penguin Books Ltd. Harmonsworth, Middlesex, England Copyright 1964 Reprinted 1967) p.26

In July 1902, a month before his first arrival in Paris, Rilke had published the first edition of his Book of Images (Buch der Bilder), containing poems written between 1898 and 1901, poems which might perhaps be described as neo-romantic, with, at their best, a peculiar combination of the descriptive, the evocative, and the symbolic, but still, for the most part. and in comparison with what he was soon to achieve, more or less obviously ‘poetic’ treatments of obviously ‘poetic’ subjects and moods.

Ibid. p.14

rilke-double

Be A Wolf

13 Mar

 

Beowulf (/ˈbwʊlf, ˈb/;[2] Old English: [ˈbeːo̯ˌwulf]) is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative lines. It may be the oldest surviving long poem in Old English and is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Old English literature. A date of composition is a matter of contention among scholars; the only certain dating pertains to the manuscript, which was produced between 975 and 1025.[3] The author was an anonymousAnglo-Saxon poet, referred to by scholars as the “Beowulf poet”.[4]

The poem is set in Scandinavia. Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall in Heorot has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel. After Beowulf slays him, Grendel’s mother attacks the hall and is then also defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland (Götaland in modern Sweden) and later becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years has passed, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is fatally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants cremate his body and erect a tower on a headland in his memory.

The full poem survives in the manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. It has no title in the original manuscript, but has become known by the name of the story’s protagonist.[5] In 1731, the manuscript was badly damaged by a fire that swept through Ashburnham House in London that had a collection of medieval manuscripts assembled by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton.[6] The Nowell Codex is currently housed in the British Library.

Sylvia Plath • Lady Lazarus

20 Nov

Lady Lazarus

by Sylvia Plath

I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it–
A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot
A paperweight,
My face featureless, fine
New linen.
Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?–

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.
Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me
And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.
This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.
What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see
Them unwrap me hand and foot–
The big strip tease.
Gentlemen, ladies
These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.
The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut
As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.
Dying
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.
It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.

It’s the theatrical
Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:
‘A miracle!’
That knocks me out.

There is a charge
For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart–
It really goes.
And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood
Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.
I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby
That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.

Do not think I underestimate your great concern.
Ash, ash–
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there–
A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.
Herr god, Herr Lucifer

Beware
Beware.
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.