Sonnets to Orpheus
All we gained is threatened by the machine
As it assumes possession rather than obeys the mind,
Ignoring the hesitant gesture of a radiant hand
It wilfully forges ahead, cutting sharp into stone.
Nor does it ever slow down enough for us to win distance,
Yet oiled by itself remains in the silent halls of fact.
It circles in living and claims to know best about living,
And with equal resolve creates, destroys, indifferent to all.
Yet our being remains spun in the mysteries of birthing,
Origins from enchanted wells, a play of pristine powers,
To behold only with eyes closed, and in adoration.
Words still softly dissolve before the unspeakable state,
While the most resonant stones give form to ever new sounds,
Gathering music into the divine unmade.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Ashen Venema
A friend called earlier, lovingly concerned, wondering why I hadn’t posted anything this month. I don’t plan posts ahead, but asking myself – what lingers in my mind – this poem by R M Rilke asked for attention. I used it to upfront a film degree dissertation (as a mature student) during the mid-90s … ‘Body Electric,’ An Exploration of Human Identity in the Digital Age. Once I discover how to transfer Mac Claris Work from floppy discs into a Word doc. or PDF, I’ll share the dissertation and other articles with my readers.
I like translating poems from German into English, poems by R M Rilke, W Goethe, H Hesse. It’s an adventure to find the right word and phrase. Maybe I should share such translations more often. The title of this post … without sleep and dreams we’d go mad … relates to the above Rilke’s poem, since the internet with its avalanche of information can assume a machine-like relentlessness, and yet, we can’t do without it, which makes me grateful for being able to sleep, so my psyche can assimilate new information during dreams.