Saturday, July 19, 2008

When I die, the world is in my room.

In November 1966, a day before his 72. birthday, composer, translator and wanderer Juergen von der Wense died in Goettingen, Germany. His attic apartment was filled with many thousands of pages of writings on science, poetry, philosophy and music.
Few splinters from it ever reached the public.
He lived for his work, always alone, with no academic or artistic consolations, in poverty supported by a few friends and admirers.
Nature, art and religion to him were one – and ALL important.
Despite loss and solitude, his life was a marvelous experiment, guided by its own inner light, overflowing and outreaching (in 6000 letters to friends) – and blessed by the absence of (and concerns for) career, family and endorsements.
A solitary genius like Mahler or Nietzsche and odd like Bruckner, he was a universe to himself. Marvelous and homeless like the storm.

---------------------- Splinters from EPIDOT:

Movements are not created, they only find each other. That something happens is only ... luck, an act of genius. God himself is permanently surprised. True art.

Biographies must become prophetic. Every life is a divination. Genius is a sacrifice, from which God foretells himself. The life of a genius is fragment, secret knowledge.

Flaws must enter the composition like poisons in medicine.

To be free means to be free from opinions. To be sociable with the stars above. To be rich from spending one's life. To embrace it with one's knowledge, to know it with one's heart.

Wisdom is a crisis.

Sudden happiness is a great loss, so we become sick, because it breaks our habits, unsettles our vanities, when we realize, how long we had been content with the platitudes of feeling.
This joy whisks me from my destiny.

Everything we experience is an answer.

What is noble about the sun is not her warmth but her distance.

We embrace the ocean when we drown.

Consolation: nature has no opinion of me.

People without love have no destiny, they only improvise. With the speed of a falling weight my destiny increases because of love.

The meaning and goad of navigation is the secret, to sail after the sun and to go down with her. The meaning of travel is religion. Wanderlust is our nobility: a marvelous striving without destination. Seafarers were the first aristocrats.
With Columbus begins the downfall. His high caravels, filled with mutineers and robbers: the image of rabble. He thought he found paradise, but every paradise was discovered by the devil.

The rainbow is the banner after the battle between the sky and earth.


My translation.
Hoping against hope that someone will pick it up from here to bring Juergen von der Wense or Hans Henny Jahnn or Jean Paul Richter a better appreciation and impetus for us to keep going.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

nothing in return

The fulcrum of America is the Plains, half sea half land, a high sun as metal and obdurate as the iron horizon, and a man's job to square the circle.

Some men ride on such space, others have to fasten themselves like a tent stake to survive.
As I see it Poe dug in and Melville mounted. They are the alternatives.

In Moby-Dick, when Ishmael has said all he can say about Ahab, he admits that the larger, darker, deeper part of man is obscure. He suggests the same holds true for any man and insists it is necessary to go down to a place far beneath a man's upper earth in order to uncover the unknown part.
There, he says, a man will find that his root of grandeur, his whole awful essence sits in bearded state

an antique buried beneath antiquities and throned
on torsos.

Melville became Christ's victim, and it was death, and lack of love, that let him be it.

Death bothered him. That bare-headed life under the grass, his own, worried him, in Dickinson's words, like a wasp. He looked for solace to the Resurrection. He got nothing in return. For the loss of mortality he got nothing in return.