Inexpressible hope, by R.M.Rilke

pic from here

Duino Elegies

from The Second Elegy

 

(…)
Lovers, if they knew how, might utter
strange things in night air. Since it seems
everything hides us. Look, trees exist; houses,
we live in, still stand. Only we
pass everything by, like an exchange of air.
And all is at one, in keeping us secret, half out of
shame perhaps, half out of inexpressible hope.
(…)

Rainer Maria Rilke.

Original German text:

Duineser Elegien, Aus Die zweite Elegie


Liebende könnten, verstünden sie’s, in der Nachtluft
wunderlich reden. Denn es scheint, daß uns alles
verheimlicht. Siehe, die Bäume sind; die Häuser,
die wir bewohnen, bestehn noch. Wir nur
ziehen allem vorbei wie ein luftiger Austausch.
Und alles ist einig, uns zu verschweigen, halb als
Schande vielleicht und halb als unsägliche Hoffnung.

Rilke’s Elegies is one of my favourite books.

Half out of inexpressible hope … so much of my life, so much of my deepest wishes is like so…

Nox Nocti Indicat Scientiam, by W.Habington

Pic from here

 

Nox Nocti Indicat Scientiam

 

1 When I survey the bright
2 Celestial sphere,
3 So rich with jewels hung, that night
4 Doth like an Ethiop bride appear,

5 My soul her wings doth spread
6 And heavenward flies,
7 Th’ Almighty’s mysteries to read
8 In the large volumes of the skies.

9 For the bright firmament
10 Shoots forth no flame
11 So silent, but is eloquent
12 In speaking the Creator’s name.

13 No unregarded star
14 Contracts its light
15 Into so small a character,
16 Remov’d far from our human sight,

17 But if we steadfast look,
18 We shall discern
19 In it, as in some holy book,
20 How man may heavenly knowledge learn.

21 It tells the conqueror
22 That far-stretch’d power
23 Which his proud dangers traffic for,
24 Is but the triumph of an hour.

25 That from the farthest north,
26 Some nation may
27 Yet undiscovered, issue forth
28 And o’er his new-got conquest sway.

29 Some nation yet shut in
30 With hills of ice
31 May be let out to scourge his sin
32 Till they shall equal him in vice.

33 And then they likewise shall
34 Their ruin have;
35 For as yourselves, your empires fall,
36 And every kingdom hath a grave.

37 Thus those celestial fires,
38 Though seeming mute,
39 The fallacy of our desires
40 And all the pride of life confute.

41 For they have watch’d since first
42 The world had birth;
43 And found sin in itself accurst,
44 And nothing permanent on earth.

 

by William Habington

 

Notes

1] The title is from Psalms xix.2: “night unto night sheweth knowledge.”

4] Cf. Romeo and Juliet I.v.48-49.

25-32] Cf. Jeremiah i.15.

 

I studied at high school when a tv program about science showed this poem.

When I read these beautiful words I feel again that emotion I felt first time I read them.

I completely agree with Mr. Habigton.

It’s so moving, indeed!

On Being Human, by C.S.Lewis

Pic from here

 

On Being Human

Angelic minds, they say, by simple intelligence
Behold the Forms of nature. They discern
Unerringly the Archtypes, all the verities
Which mortals lack or indirectly learn.
Transparent in primordial truth, unvarying,
Pure Earthness and right Stonehood from their clear,
High eminence are seen; unveiled, the seminal
Huge Principles appear.

The tree-ness of the tree they know-the meaning of
Arboreal life, how from earth’s salty lap
The solar beam uplifts it; all the holiness
Enacted by leaves’ fall and rising sap;
But never an angel knows the knife-edged severance
Of sun from shadow where the trees begin,
The blessed cool at every pore caressing us
-An angel has no skin.

They see the Form of Air; but mortals breathing it
Drink the whole summer down into the breast.
The lavish pinks, the field new-mown, the ravishing
Sea-smells, the wood-fire smoke that whispers Rest.
The tremor on the rippled pool of memory
That from each smell in widening circles goes,
The pleasure and the pang –can angels measure it?
-An angel has no nose.

The nourishing of life, and how it flourishes
On death, and why, they utterly know; but not
The hill-born, earthy spring, the dark cold bilberries.
The ripe peach from the southern wall still hot
Full-bellied tankards foamy-topped, the delicate
Half-lyric lamb, a new loaf’s billowy curves,
Nor porridge, nor the tingling taste of oranges.
-An angel has no nerves.

Far richer they! I know the senses’ witchery
Guard us like air, from heavens too big to see;
Imminent death to man that barb’d sublimity
And dazzling edge of beauty unsheathed would be.
Yet here, within this tiny, charmed interior,
This parlour of the brain, their Maker shares
With living men some secrets in a privacy
Forever ours, not theirs.

 

Clive Staples Lewis

 

First time I read this words, they seems very close to that moving and beautiful movie by Wim Wenders with a so interesting title: Wings of Desire.

You can easily see a clear connection between this poetry and my blog.

Without these words this blog couldn’t exists.

George Gray, by E.L.Masters

pic from here

 

 

Spoon River Anthology, 64.

George Gray

 

I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me —
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.

In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.

For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.

And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.

To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire —
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

 

Edgar Lee Masters

 

These words torture me from the first time I read them, during a long bus trip to my holidays.

I attended high school

Intellect and love, by Anselm of Aosta

Anselmus, Archbishop of Canterbury, Canterbury Cathedral. Pic from here

 

The soul’s surrender of itself to God

Book of Meditations, § 54

Eleventh meditation”Of the redemption of mankind”

O Lord, I beseech Thee,
that I may taste by love what I taste by speculation,
perceive by affection what I perceive by the understanding.

I owe Thee more than my whole self;
but neither have I more, nor even this that I am can I of myself give up whole to Thee.
Draw me, or rather this whole self of mine, O Lord, into Thy love.

All that I am is Thine by creation; make it all Thine by love.
Behold, O Lord, my heart lies open before Thee;
it tries, but of itself it cannot; what self cannot, do Thou.

Admit me within the chamber of Thy love.

I ask, I seek, I knock.
Thou who causest me to ask, cause me to receive.

 

Saint Anselm of Aosta (Saint Anselm of Canterbury)

 

My pc monitor shows me these words when I watch at its desktop.

East Coker, by T.S.Eliot

Pic from here

Four Quartets
East Coker, 3, 13-28

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away —
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing —
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

 

T.S. Eliot

 

I studied at university. I was young. I was really not good.
I found Eliot, I found this one.

First time I red it I was in a undergroud train.

So beautiful … to make me cry.

Another time, by W.H.Auden

Pic from here

Another Time

For us like any other fugitive,
Like the numberless flowers that cannot number
And all the beasts that need not remember,
It is today in which we live.

So many try to say Not Now,
So many have forgotten how
To say I Am, and would be
Lost, if they could, in history.

Bowing, for instance, with such old-world grace
To a proper flag in a proper place,
Muttering like ancients as they stump upstairs
Of Mine and His or Ours and Theirs.

Just as if time were what they used to will
When it was gifted with possession still,
Just as if they were wrong
In no more wishing to belong.

No wonder then so many die of grief,
So many are so lonely as they die;
No one has yet believed or liked a lie,
Another time has other lives to live.

W.H. Auden

 

From years I try to translate it into Italian… I am not able …

 

I breathe peace

JB, 2020

 

I breathe peace in this sunset
among ivies, periwinkles and shadows.
I’m my smoke and I melt in the air …
who knows where evening’s breeze will take me

Instinct wind often overwhelmed my
heart and limbs and skin and reason too
toward far, dark and stranger landscapes.
I need order; in the evening
                                            it comes

 

April, 5th 2020

 

 

Italian version

Sunset floods

I’m trapped in my home, so I cannot share here a better photo…I’m sorry

 

Anyway, sunset still floods with peace
us and yellow light comes. A breeze breathes.
A joyful blackbird plays near me,
herald of infinite souvenirs

Yes, we live and we’ll live in this world
that forgives and maintains us.
I thank You, my kind Lord, Father Lord,
fill my nothing with deep and strong wish

 

April, 25th 2020

 

Italian version