exams are over! this means more time for drawing and more excursions.
liebeslied – love song October 23, 2009
Wie soll ich meine Seele halten, daß
sie nicht an deine rührt? Wie soll ich sie
hinheben über dich zu andern Dingen?
Ach gerne möcht ich sie bei irgendwas
Verlorenem im Dunkel unterbringen
an einer fremden stillen Stelle, die
nicht weiterschwingt, wenn deine Tiefen schwingen.
Doch alles, was uns anrührt, dich und mich,
nimmt uns zusammen wie ein Bogenstrich,
der aus zwei Saiten eine Stimme zieht.
Auf welches Instrument sind wir gespannt?
Und welcher Spieler hat uns in der Hand?
O süßes Lied!
How might I hold my soul so not to touch
Your own? And how am I to place
It clear of you to anything beyond?
How gladly I would stow it next to such
Things in the darkness as will not be found
Down in an alien and silent space
That does not resonate when you resound.
But everything that touches me and you
Pulls us together like a bow when two
Taut strings are stroked into the voice of one.
What instrument have we been lain along?
Whose are the hands that play our unison?
What a sweet song!
Though entitled the deceptively sanguine “Love Song”, Rilke’s poem resonates with a darker meaning. On first reading the poem speaks of the conjunction of two souls in love – a common, if seemingly trite theme. On closer reading the poem offers up more sinister themes.
The first half speaks of holding one’s soul and emotions in check. It is a difficult task, and the narrator could stow it away in a cellar for all the good it will do. He cannot help but be drawn to his love and meld with her. On a superficial level, this seems to speak of how impossible it is not bend together, how falling in love is unavoidable. On deeper reading, the imagery of the “things in the darkness”, the still depths of the soul are fraught with despair. Love, it seems, is a sort of madness, and the narrator is helpless despite his best efforts to resist it. He wishes, gladly, to hide it away, to keep it in the dark and alien spaces. Yet, to no avail, as the next three lines show.
Whose are the hands that play our unison? is a poetic translation of the ending line. However, in German the term “Spieler”, or literally, player is used, hence What player hold us in his hand?, or the violinist who plays them on the instrument. Some greater force is set above them, driving them together, into this inescapable soul-melding. The fatalistic nature of love is evident to the narrator. The almost dystopian nature of the questions at the end make the poem less sweetly saccharine and more reflectively morose.
“O sweet song” declares the narrator at the close. In the more pessimistic reading of this piece, this declaration seems almost ironic. This sweet song of two is a product of surrender and fatalism, a yielding and blending. His soul is no longer his – he is swept up in the throes of an unnameable force. What instrument have the two been laid upon? And what player holds him in his hand and plays them like a fiddle? Rilke must have been aware of the dual nature of love – the joy and the madness, the sweetness and the darkness. In a fitting show of subtle irony, he entitles his poem “Love Song”, a literal allusion to the string music of the two lovers in union, strung over some unknown instrument, played by unknown hands, helpless and lost in the music of love.
books and chocolate October 11, 2009
More books! I feel very happy. And they are in hardcover, which I adore. After years of buying soft-covers, there is something sweetly decadent about hardcover bound books with a matching ribbon bookmark.
Siddhartha is in English, but Das Glasperlenspiel is in German… this is my friend’s idea of a joke, as I have had only 12 weeks of formal German classes. The cover is lovely – it’s the prettiest book binding I have ever seen. It’s a transparent sleeve with overlay printing which makes the glass marbles look almost real.
The way to my heart – hard cover books and sweets ❤
reading October 10, 2009
my workarea. taken at 2am.
just finished reading this book. the supplicant suitor is a powerless wretch.
selected poetry of rainer maria rilke, translated by stephen mitchell.
my favourite elegy
i was going through my drawers and found these! these are bookmarks i collected when i was 6 or 7. each one cost about 30 cents. really pretty illustrations with accompanying verse (that i sadly cannot understand)
les femmes October 8, 2009
Elle me dit comme ca viens on va faire un tour
Sur ce tobogant arc-en-ciel c’est celui de l’amour
On ira manger une glace à la vanille
Mais d’abord j’aimerais être sur que tu n’aimes que les filles
She says to me like this:
“Come, let’s take a walk
On this rainbow slide
It’s the slide of love
We’ll go eat vanilla ice cream
but first I want to be sure that you love only girls.”
– Yelle, Les Femmes
gypsy queen October 4, 2009
i was supposed to be designing my halloween costume, but i got carried away. i’m going as rachel brice – this tribal/mata hari/belly dance amalgam.
“Man kann doch nicht nicht-leben.”
“Man kann doch nicht nicht-lieben?”
What a difference one vowel makes. And then again, not that great a difference, in the end.