Sunday, November 15, 2009

soft fall

There are times when some slowing eddy seems to still the flow of life long enough for a scene to take place, a scene offering something natural that seems perfectly odd, or something odd that seems perfectly natural, but either way, the motif floats to the surface long enough for a mermaid's vamp on the surface of the waves.

The small thing this time was a leaf that, among still, silent things, wove its way down from a very tall Oak on unseen currents, and for some reason this leaf, gently angled at the central vein and deeply cut with lobes, fell quickly whirling against the background of stillness, descending diagonally with surprising slowness across a chasm to nearly land among the branches of another oak, as if hoping for a foster home. Once on the ground, I thought I'd recognize it from its spectacular performance, but found it blended in with the multitude, browner and more dull than when it glided 100 feet above back lit by the sun.

Each leaf sweeps to earth a little differently, the fall a light touch on cushions of air. There is more anthem than renunciation in the soft slip, spin and pause of the drop. There is no hard-edged eternity, only Rilke's unending gentleness.

Here is C.F. MacIntyre's translation of Rilke's Autumn, one of the many poems falling out of the deteriorating collection I have. The last line was much better in German so I've included the original.


Autumn

The leaves fall, fall as if from far away,
like withered things from gardens deep in sky;
they fall with gestures of renunciation.

And through the night the heavy earth falls too,
down from the stars, into the loneliness.

And we all fall. This hand must fall.
Look everywhere: it is the lot of all.

Yet there is one who holds us as we fall
eternally in his hands' tenderness.

Herbst

Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,
als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.

Und in den Nächten fällt die schwere Erede
aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkiet.

Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.
Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.

Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen
unendlich sanft in seinen Händen hält.

3 comments:

Kenmeer livermaile said...

"The leaves fall, fall as if from far away,
like withered things from gardens deep in sky;"

Oohs and ahs.

prailsac: empty knapsack that carries the tribes' prayers.

amarilla said...

gardens deep in the sky

Kenmeer livermaile said...

I did a smidgen of work on the virtual prose piece but the past few days have been difficult for me. I haven't worked on The Novel either.

Getting old is not any easier for being automatic.

ekleso: selah