Nights were not made for the crowds, and they sever
You from your neighbor, so you shall never
Seek him, defiantly, at night.
But if you make your dark house light,
To look on strangers in your room,
You must reflect-on whom.
False lights that on men’s faces play
Distort them gruesomely.
You look upon a disarray,
A world that seems to reel and sway,
A waving, glittering sea.
On their foreheads gleams a yellow shine
Where thoughts are chased away.
Their glances flicker mad from wine,
And to the words they say
Strange heavy gestures make reply,
That struggle in the buzzing room;
And they say always, “I” and ‘I”;
And mean-they know not whom.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
What will you do, God, when I die?
the jar of fire-flies waving through the dark, ( if cracked, will I lie?)
Your secretive well-spring (if removed will the well go dry?)
The craft, the vesture that am I,
To lose all meaning, loosening me from your grasp.
When it is that I go, your cold house will be
Empty of language that made it sweet.
I, the sandals, your bare feet
Will seek and long for passage.
Your cloak shall fall from weary bones.
Your glance, my warmth has awakened
What wonder will be removed from the mask
and a sun that disappears,
lies now in the lap of unknown stones.
What will you do, God?
-Joshua Fleming (remixing a translation of Rainer Maria Rilke)
Dew of humanity, drawing up and concealing its frontiers between first light and the emergence of the sun, between the eyes that open and the heart that remembers.
“The less we understand of what our fathers and forefathers sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Nietzsche called the spirit of gravity.”
-Carl Gustave Jung
I am a thorn enduring in the dark sky,
I am the one whom I have never met,
I am a swift fish shooting through the troubled waters,
I am the last inheritor crying out in deserted houses
I am the salmon hidden in the pool on the temple floor
I am what remains of the beloved
I am an insect with black enamel knees hugging the curve of insanity
I am the evening light rising from the ocean plains
I am an eternal happiness fighting in the long reeds.
. . .
The panther rejoices in the gathering dark.
Hands rush toward each other through miles of space.
All the sleepers in the world join hands.
Pure tenuous streams
run in the darkness
-on the blue a mesh of silver-,
bringing me flowers…
-Ah, the eternal water
through the black ground;
the infinite breeze
through the cold shadow!-
…Bringing me stars;
and I am in the darkness
like a phantom tree
nourished with worlds.
-Jiménez Juan Ramón/ translation by W.S. Merwin
The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.