Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Every Depth is Terrible

Do not dare to name them! Half-gods
hardly are allowed in our dark mouths ...
And, even full of insistence, the soul
knows only this amorphous Angel
who, bit by bit, erects himself on the edge
of our sufferings: bright, fatal and forceful,
never flinching, never afraid of heights,
but for all that, himself the vassal-being
of an unknown and sovereign contract.

Him, Captial, vertical letter
of the word that, slowly, we demolish;
brass boundary of our native life,
anonymous measure of those mountains
forming a chain in our heart,
in its abrupt and savage part ...
Harbor statue, landing beacon,
and yet, contemptuous shipwrecks!

... But inside you, a the very depths of you,
what a cemetery! So many Gods acquitted,
dismissed, forgotten, out of use,
so many prophets, so many wise men,
abandoned by your mad desire!

-- from Rilke’s “But It Is Purer To Die,” transl. A. Poulin Jr.


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