Saturday, 6 August 2011

sleeping is great until you wake up and realize you've missed the carnival

The following is an excerpt from a post on the blog "state of friss"
She doesn't write as often as I'd like, but maybe if she did, I wouldn't like what she wrote as much as I do.

"my challenge today is how to say what i mean, and to be brief.

that's one of the great challenges of poetry of course, and you all know how i like to record those moments when a poem intersects my real life perfectly. sometimes those moments are truly, rarely, devastatingly accurate. for just a bit you can forget to breathe and your whole body says, gah, that's it!

the German poet, Ernst Stadler died in 1914 on the Western Front, killed by a British shell. the poem following poem, "The Saying" is a translation {hence, an imitation} by Stephen Berg of Stadler's original poem, which ends with the line, "Mensch, werde wesentlich!" ("Man, become substantial!").

The Saying

In an old book
I stumbled across a saying.
It was like a stranger
punching me in the face,

it won't stop
gnawing at me.
When I walk around at night,
looking for a beautiful girl,

when a lie or a description
of life or somebody's fake
way of being with people
occurs instead of reality,

when I betray myself with
an easy explanation
as if what's dark is clear,
as if life doesn't have thousands

of locked, burning gates,
when I use words without really
having known their strict openness
and put my hands around things

that don't excite me,
when a dream hides my face with soft hands
and the day avoids me,
cut off from the world,

cut off from who I am deeply,
I freeze where I am
and see hanging in the air in front of me

:: :: ::

and anyway, who out there is fully awake? who is living out every second, confronting fear and earnestly seeking understanding? i think there are such people. but not me. i think i am mostly half asleep."

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