Transmigrant Translations

For Friedrich Hölderlin

I am a blue surge in a sea of twists and turns, a tricky green divergence trying to outrun desire’s disasters. I know I won’t escape life’s fatal lawlessness, but maybe I can build a little boat to float on my mind’s capricious waves. Come with me – let’s roam this mazy sea in search of singing islands, enchanted archipelagos where we can lose ourselves and time.

a burning wound drives them about . . .

Unwind your wound,
Unbind your destiny.

Here at the lonely crossroads where ghosts and witches dance,
I stretch the blind tendrils of my pain into singing windstrummed strings.

I love the kiss of contrary tongues, the swoon of ardent paradox.

I’d rather stammer my funny nonsense
Than mouth your dumb transcendence.

The world is a maze in the mind,
The mind a maze in the world,
The body – amazed – a blazing passage between evershifting labyrinths.

Blinded by life, we withdraw into dim caves – futile retreats from the sun’s piercing radiance.

Your fiery touch unlooses seas of memories – Sodom burning rises from the waters. Do you remember when the angels came . . . ?

I open
my mouth to say
nothing –
I’m just an echo
chamber amplifying the earth
’s whispers.

What is the price of joy?
Suffering does not pay
      for past pleasure nor for future bliss.
Life is no accountant,
Death is not a bank.

An artist of destruction, he broke and broke and broke, till utterly broken, his rubble spoke.

The cunning wanderer stops and rests in rushing time’s white interludes where straight ways disclose their deviousness and unforked paths bifurcate.

A stranger came to me in my sleep and killed me – somewhere someone woke up.

I’m searching for a great white wave to wash over the motherless moments of this meandering life.

And the bats – black wings questioning the dark – told him what they heard.

all around the summits of Time are heaped,
around clearness,
and the most loved live near, growing faint on
most separate mountains,
give us innocent water, then,
O give us pinions, most faithful in mind
to cross over and to return.

Yearning on sundered summits, how can we touch unless we fall? (How can we fall unless we touch?)

O lambent archipelago! Your wave-ringed radiance beckons my dark explorers. Will my black ship reach your fleeting islands before they sink back in the inky waters?

Ravish me,
Unravel me,
Warp my woofs,
Unwind my knowing into innocence.

Swallow the light – it blinks, blacks out.
Swallow the dark – your guts glow eyes.

The event of writing is nothing but the passionate impossibility of capturing the event.

–You must finish what you’ve started, masters and slaves agree.
–Once you’ve said A, you must say B, teachers pronounce. (You must say A!)
One by one, I by I, his certainties fell away. Utterly, inutterably naked, his body suddenly understood the meaning of with. For the first time in his singular life (the empty overflowing world whirled round him) he did not feel alone.

Let me never cease
Diverging from myself.

The lines of life are various; they diverge and cease
Like footpaths and the mountains’ utmost ends

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