I Strindberg, Hölderlin & Celan (I-III)



STRINDBERG, HÖLDERLIN & CELAN, pt. I

("Blå Tornet", Drottninggatan 85, Stockholm, Sweden. Here August Strindberg lived from the summer of 1908 until his death, writing "mitt vackraste stycke", The Last Knight. This picture was taken in March 2008 by AF.)

Cross the threshold
There'll be the Lesser Guardian
But it's only ourselves
For the Greater to be seen
And where is our father
"God bless you!"
More letters for Abram
And old icons, now I have to tell
There were three of them
Who may have been sent...

Archangel of the Sun
Bring us the shield of light
Blacker than charcoal
Are the depths of this one

Archai Michael

Bring us the sword, not to kill
But to think, and help us through
To be heard by the saint
Watching over us like before
When both sides were praying
But only the other would sing



(Bernt Notke's wooden sculptures from 1489: Saint George and the Dragon. Stockholm City Church, in March 2008. It is easy to misunderstand what this is all about. A sincere Quest[ioning] is required from each of us. Photo by Laura Vilva.)

Chorus:
And if the highest light is here with us
If the highest light is here tonight
If the highest light be here with us
And if the Ghost be Holy
Then the last knight will ride
And the faith of August will last
The faith of August, it will last

"Den som inte hoppas
skall inte förtvivla.
Den skall inte tvivla
som ingenting tror.
Men den som söker mål
och den som söker mening
ger draken dess etter
och riddaren hans svärd."

-Gunnar Ekelöf



Flowers for Strindberg
In the desert like Ishmael
I've come to cleanse the name
With occult diaries, I'll change
The script for this play, dreamlike
What has the teacher said
While taking care of our delusions
And what they have meant
And what they have meant
With their words that hurt
I'll bring to light, all of this
More and more people will come to witness

Who was going to Damascus
The secret path of knowledge
From Satanic to Christian
"Oh children of spirit and fire!"
But never raised a white flag, the room will be red
And the blue book understood at last

Chorus:
And if the highest light is here with us
If the highest light is here tonight
If the highest light be here with us
And if the Ghost be Holy
Then the last knight will ride
And the faith of August will last
The faith of August, it will last



(In the Blue Tower's hallway, and ready to cross the threshold of the Strindberg Museum. Pictures taken by AF.)

"Tyst, tyst, gamle vän.
Du får tänka sånt där,
men du skall icke säga´t.

Tro gott om Gud och människor,
så bli de goda - mot dig!"


"Lyst i bann, förbannad av Gud och människor,
utesluten ur kyrkan, och icke få hederlig begravning."


"Ensamna! - Så ensamna vi äro under stjärnorna,
du och jag, i hela vida vida världen, Du och Jag!"

-Sten Sture den Yngre in Strindberg's Siste Riddaren.

Strindberg, Hölderlin & Celan (part I) was written in November 2009.  
But the composing of themes began in 2006 with Ismael i öknen, 
Strindberg som mystiker (written by Göran Stockenström).

STRINDBERG, HÖLDERLIN & CELAN, pt. II



("Hölderlin's tower" and the river Neckar. A postcard landscape
from Tübingen, Germany, in March 2006. Picture by AF.)

“And I couldn't take the wine
No, I couldn't take the bread”
If our God sleeps there,
How gods have slept
How close we've come
To this wine in truth
(In veritate vinum)
To be without their help,
Without their help at all
To kneel down and pray
For all souls troubled like us
There'll be a swan, and the river
Pray for those who know
How the soul may be
From where it comes
And then for those who knew
The flames of Mother Poetry
"Oh Swan of Neckar!"



(Inside the famous "Hölderlinturm". A swan floated near, and then back to where it came from, after giving us a glance. These pictures were taken,without permission, by AF. The lady who worked in the museum didn't appreciate our interests at all.)

Chorus:
And with these words
May peace be with you
I have seen what you have seen
For I have felt what you have felt
And I have been where you have been
Brother, I love you

"Drum, da gehäuft sind rings
Die Gipfel der Zeit, und die Liebsten
Nah wohnen, ermattend auf
Getrenntesten Bergen,
So gib unschuldig Wasser,
O Fittige gib uns, treuesten Sinns
Hinüberzugehn und wiederzukehren."
-Friedrich Hölderlin / Patmos




Near the abyss we live,
But we are friends
And friends heal each other
Let us have a good time
Let us have a good time
And life is full of miracles
Christ is like a brother to us
Who has known what God is,
And who has known the Heavenly
To take the Bread of Life from this earth
And from the light of sun
It had been too bright
The mysteries of old gods
Were waiting for this

If Christ is like a brother to us
Whose lives are full of miracles
Without a good friend
I'd never have known
The Island of Light
"O Insel des Lichts!"



(Patmos, Greece, in September 2007. I found out about Hölderlin's poem called Patmos, when I visited Koblenz a few years before, and I didn't even know the island was open to tourists. The sole reason for coming here was the poem in question.)

"So pflegte
Sie einst des gottgeliebten,
Des Sehers, der in seliger Jugend war
Gegangen mit
Dem Sohne des Höchsten"
 

-Friedrich Hölderlin / Patmos

Chorus:
And with these words
May peace be with you
I have seen what you have seen
For I have felt what you have felt
And I have been where you have been
Brother, I love you




(We were walking on a Byzantine path, and looked back while returning from the cave, where Apocalypse is said to have been dictated and written down. Both photos taken by AF.)

"...und niemand
Weiss von wannen und was
einem geschiehet von ihr.
So bewegt sie die Welt
und die hoffende Seele der Menschen,
Selbst
kein Weiser versteht, was sie bereitet..."
-Friedrich Hölderlin / Brot und Wein


Strindberg, Hölderlin & Celan (part II) was written in October 2009.  
But the composing of themes began in 2004 with a piece of paper
and the words "I can't take the bread, and I can't take the wine". 

STRINDBERG, HÖLDERLIN & CELAN, pt. III


(The Cathedral of Freiburg, Germany, Easter Monday 2009. Schwarzwald in the background. This photographic scene was witnessed by AF).

If a man would come today
And wrestle with God, or an angel at least
With or without hands crossed, the spirit
Like a sea of candles in the cathedral
If a man could speak of this time
With the shining beard of the patriarch
"The good vine, the good eye"
Who forgives everything
And is forgiven, how to take it
The word of a thinking man
Should it be thrown
Into the last warming tongues

"Käme,
käme ein Mensch,
käme ein Mensch zur Welt, heute, mit
dem Lichtbart der
Patriarchen: er dürfte,
spräch er von dieser
Zeit, er
dürfte
nur lallen und lallen,
immer-, immer-
zuzu."

-Paul Celan / Tübingen, Jänner



And no one knows,
When no one knows
(Und niemand weiss,
Wenn niemand weiss)
What they were after
But the dove wants to fly

So they came and they hailed
"The end of the world is coming"
There's so much that we've seen
And we've gone through
The smoke and the panic
Let their truths be our lies
For all those who were
Safely gathered, like the holy breath
On the branch of an olive tree
"Hail! Heil! Hail!"

Chorus:
And late is the hour
But as long as there's hope
There will be life, there will be life
And Celan hoped for this



Black Forest elegy
When my own weakness is shown to me again
But suffering and pain are my friends
God, I know them
And we are only guests
To walk in the evening, hungry and scared
In this beautiful but destroyed land
One is the breath of the living God
And where is my shepherd
Or language to dwell in this house
For the line written, like the clearing
Paths through the open question
Even the wise don't understand
The broken vessels and the wanderers
In these woods where I have walked
Blessed is the name of the life of worlds
"Oh land of the evening sun!"



("The morning after" in Schwarzwald, with a camera. I went there hoping to find the path Celan and Heidegger had walked together. But it seems I found my own, instead. All photos by AF.)

Chorus:
And late is the hour
But as long as there's hope
There will be life, there will be life
And Celan hoped for this

"die in dies Buch
geschriebene Zeile von
einer Hoffnung, heute,
auf eines Denkenden
kommendes
Wort
im Herzen"
- Paul Celan /
Todtnauberg




Strindberg, Hölderlin & Celan (part III) was written in December 2009.  

But the composing of themes began long ago when I heard Cohen's music
and read Hölderlin's poetry. Wenn niemand weiss, niemand weiss.