Aber abseits, wer ist's ? / But who is that, standing apart ?
Ins Gebüsch verliert sich sein Pfad, / His steps recede into the bushes,
hinter ihm schlagen / behind him
die Straüche zusammen / the thickets close,
das Gras steht wieder auf, / the grass straightens,
die Öde verschlingt ihn. / the wilderness swallows him up.
Ach wer heilet die Schmerzen / Alas, who will heal the suffering
des, dem Balsam zu Gift ward ? / of one for whom balm has become poison ;
Der sich Menschenhass / and who sucked hatred of mankind
aus der Fülle der Liebe trank ? / from the abundance of love ?
Erst verachtet, nun ein Verächter, / Despised at first and now despising,
zehrt er heimlich auf / he secretly devours
seinen eignen Wert / his own worth
in ungnügender Selbstsucht. / in insatiable self love.
Ist auf deinem Psalter, / Father of love, if there is
Vater der Lieber, ein Ton, / a sound on your psaltery
seinem Ohre vernehmlich, / which his ear can discern,
so erquicke sein Herz ! / then quicken his heart !
Öffne den umwölkten Blick / Reveal to his clouded gaze
über die tausend Quellen / the thousand springs
neben dem Durstenden / by the side of the thirsty man
in der Wüste. / in the desert.
I'm not going to do a full critical analysis of the way I read this poem right now. Maybe someday here, who knows ?
For the time being, I would like to borrow an image from Philip Pullman, in his Dark Materials Trilogy.
Pullman talks about "dust". The most spiritually rich people in his epic saga are surrounded by layers and layers of invisible to the naked eye "dust", which Pullman seems to suggest (sorry Phillip for explaining your work...) is a manifestation of the eternal love affair between spirit and matter.
This poem, for me, is surrounded with "dust", too.
Its timeless images hark back to the most powerful ideas at work in our civilization, and cristallize them in a living way.
Just a few, pointillist brush strokes for my readers...
"over there"... "standing APART"...
the grass STRAIGHTENS AFTER when he walks on it...
The wilderness "SWALLOWS him up"...
"SUCKING hatred of man from the fullness of love".
"DEVOURING one's OWN self worth in INSATIABLE SELF LOVE".
And after.. "FATHER"...
"QUICKEN HIS HEART"...
"THE THOUSAND SPRINGS"...
As I said in my last post, this is Goethe's and Brahm's manifesto, their CREDO, written with words and music FOR MODERN MAN.
Modern man who does not believe... in anything, and as a result, well... can no longer believe in himself.
And the poem describes in great detail what happens SINCE modern man can no longer believe, and have faith :"devouring one's own worth in insatiable self love" born of... self hate, of course.
"Quicken"... is the biblical word used to speak of the fetus in the womb. It means to bring to life. The first movements of the fetus in the womb. Because, of course, for us, movement IS life, and our perception of it can not be divorced from our perception of life itself.
I suggest... that my readers listen to Brahms WITH Goethe, and let the MAGIC of the work tug gently at OUR hearts, right ??