Rilke by AZ








THE FIRST ELEGY
 
Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angels?
Orders? and even if one of them pressed me
suddenly to his heart: I'd be consumed
in his more potent being. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we can still barely endure,
and while we stand in wonder it coolly disdains
to destroy us. Every Angel is terrifying.
Ai, nếu tôi kêu lớn, sẽ nghe, giữa những Thiên Thần?
Những Thiên Sứ? và ngay cả nếu một vị trong họ ôm chặt tôi vào tận tim:
Tôi sẽ bị đốt cháy trong hiện hữu dữ dằn của Người.
Bởi là vì, cái đẹp chẳng là gì, mà chỉ là khởi đầu của ghê rợn,
chúng ta vẫn có thể chịu đựng, và trong khi chúng ta đứng ngẩn ngơ,
thì nó bèn khinh khi hủy diệt chúng ta.
Mọi Thiên Thần thì đều đáng sợ.

Rilke
For me, the happy owner of the elegant slim book bought long ago, the Elegies represented just the beginning of a long road leading to a better acquaintance with Rilke's entire oeuvre. The fiery invocation that starts “The First Elegy” - once again: "Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angels' / Orders? And even if one of them pressed me / suddenly to his heart: 1'd be consumed / in his more potent being. For beauty is nothing / but the beginning of terror, which we can still barely endure" -had become for me a living proof that poetry hadn't lost its bewitching powers. At this early stage I didn't know Czeslaw Milosz's poetry; it was successfully banned by the Communist state from the schools, libraries, and bookstores-and from me. One of the first contemporary poets I read and tried to understand was Tadeusz Rozewicz, who then lived in the same city in which I grew up (Gliwice) and, at least hypothetically, might have witnessed the rapturous moment that followed my purchase of the Duino Elegies translated by Jastrun, might have seen a strangely immobile boy standing in the middle of a side- walk, in the very center of the city, in its main street, at the hour of the local promenade when the sun was going down and the gray industrial city became crimson for fifteen minutes or so. Rozewicz's poems were born out of the ashes of the other war, World War II, and were themselves like a city of ashes. Rozewicz avoided metaphors in his poetry, considering any surplus of imagination an insult to the memory of the last war victims, a threat to the moral veracity of his poems; they were supposed to be quasi-reports from the great catastrophe. His early poems, written before Adorno uttered his famous dictum that after Auschwitz poetry's competence was limited-literally, he said, "It is barbaric to write poetry after Auschwitz"-were already imbued with the spirit of limitation and caution.
Adam Zagajewski: Introduction

Với tôi người sở hữu hạnh phúc, cuốn sách thanh nhã, mỏng manh, mua từ lâu, “Bi Khúc” tượng trưng cho một khởi đầu của con đường dài đưa tới một quen biết tốt đẹp hơn, với toàn bộ tác phẩm của Rilke. “Bi Khúc thứ nhất” - một lần nữa ở đây: “Ai, nếu tôi la lớn - trở thành một chứng cớ hiển nhiên, sống động, thơ ca chẳng hề mất quyền uy khủng khiếp của nó. Vào lúc đó, tôi chưa biết thơ của Czeslaw Milosz, bị “VC Ba Lan”, thành công trong việc tuyệt cấm, ở trường học, nhà sách, thư viện, - và tất nhiên, tuyệt cấm với tôi. Một trong những nhà thơ cùng thời đầu tiên mà tôi đọc và cố hiểu, là Tadeusz Rozewicz, cùng sống trong thành phố mà tôi sinh trưởng, (Gliwice), và, có thể chứng kiến, thì cứ giả dụ như vậy, cái giây phút thần tiên liền theo sau, khi tôi mua được Duino Elegies, bản dịch của Jastrun - chứng kiến hình ảnh một đứa bé đứng chết sững trên hè đường, nơi con phố trung tâm thành phố, vào giờ cư dân của nó thường đi dạo chơi, khi mặt trời xuống thấp, và cái thành phố kỹ nghệ xám trở thành 1 bông hồng rực đỏ trong chừng 15 phút, cỡ đó – ui chao cũng chẳng khác gì giây phút thần tiên Gấu đọc cọp cuốn “Bếp Lửa”, khi nó được nhà xb đem ra bán xon trên lề đường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Sài Gòn – Thơ của Rozewicz như sinh ra từ tro than của một cuộc chiến khác, Đệ Nhị Chiến, và chính chúng, những bài thơ, thì như là một thành phố của tro than. Rozewicz tránh sử dụng ẩn dụ trong thơ của mình, coi bất cứ thặng dư của tưởng tượng là 1 sỉ nhục hồi ức những nạn nhân của cuộc chiến sau chót, một đe dọa tính xác thực về mặt đạo đức của thơ ông: Chúng được coi như là những bản báo cáo, kéo, dứt, giựt ra từ cơn kinh hoàng, tai họa lớn. Những bài thơ đầu của ông, viết trước khi Adorno phang ra đòn chí tử, “thật là ghê tởm, man rợ khi còn làm thơ sau Lò Thiêu”, thì đã hàm ngụ trong chúng, câu của Adorno rồi.
*
Note: Có 1 sự trùng hợp ngẫu nhiên, nhưng thật ly kỳ thú vị, không chỉ về cái cảnh Gấu chết sững trong nắng Sài Gòn, khi đọc cọp – khám phá ra - Bếp Lửa, khi cuốn sách được nhà xb Nguyễn Đình Vượng cho đem bán xon trên hè đường Phạm Ngũ Lão, nhưng còn ở điều này: Cuốn sách Bếp Lửa đã sống lại, từ tro than, bụi đường Xề Gòn.
Gấu đã viết như thế, về Bếp Lửa, từ năm 1972
Giả như nó không được đem bán xon, liệu có tái sinh?
Quá tí nữa, giả như không có cuộc phần thư 1975, liệu văn học Miền Nam vưỡn còn, và được cả nước nâng niu, trân trọng như bây giờ?

*


Hàng zin, xịn, mới tậu!
Hà, hà!
 
Maybe it’s more interesting to see Rilke’s work as not as virginal, not as ethereal, as it seems to many readers. After all, like the majority of literary modernists, he is an antimodern; one of the main impulses in his work consists of looking for antidotes to modernity. Heroes of his poems move in a spiritual space, not in the streets of New York or Paris, but they also, because of their intense existence, are meant to act against the supposed or real ugliness of the modern world. Even Rilke’s snobbery, hypothetical or not, can be seen as corresponding more to his ideas than to the weaknesses of his character: aristocrats represented for the poet the survivors of a better Europe, a chivalric continent, as opposed to the degredation caused by profit-oriented modernity, cherishing mass production and car races. He was not alone in representing this position—it will be enough to refer to the aesthetic movement and Walter Pater, who preceded him by one generation. Had Rilke met Marcel Proust, who was born only four years before our poet (they never met, but we know that Rilke admired the first volumes of “À la recherche du temps perdu”, published before his death), we can be sure there would have been between them no major disagreement concerning matters of philosophy, taste, and society. And certainly he would have readily agreed with his friend Paul Valéry when the French poet was was sadly sighing at the sight of a new Europe of efficiency, labor, and military drill, and when, regretting the loss of the unhurried pace of intellectual work and musing in the past he pronounced these beautiful words: “Adieu, travaux infiniment lents . . .” 
Some of the more sharp-eyed scholars have even found one or two sentences in Rilke’s letters in praise of Mussolini. This is not what I mean: I don’t intend to accuse the superb poet of any political misdemeanor. What I want is simply also to see in his poetry a dimension that has a lot to do with the diversity of intellectual polemics, some of which are still ongoing. We’re still pondering the value of modernity, as was Rilke, even if we do this using different notions and examples. We have a new sorrow today: after the terrible catastrophes of the twentieth century, after the disasters that entered both our memory and imagination, we tread gingerly at the point where poetry meets society; “Don’t walk beyond this line,” as the sign on every jetliner’s wing warns us. And yet the central issue for us is probably the question of whether the mystery at the heart of poetry (and of art in general) can be kept safe against the assaults of an omnipresent talkative and soulless journalism and an equally omnipresent popular science—or pseudo-science. It also has a lot to do with the weighing of the advantages and vices of mass culture, with the influence of mass media, and with a difficult search for genuine expression inside the commercial framework that has replaced older, less vulgar traditions and institutions in our societies. In this respect, it’s true, poets have less to fear than their friends the painters, especially the successful ones, who, because of the absurd prices their works can now command, will never see their canvases in the houses of their fellow artists, in the apartments of people like themselves, only in vaults belonging to oil or television moguls who don’t even have time to look at them. Still, the stakes of the debate and its seriousness are not very different and not less important than a hundred years ago. 
We know that the main domain of poetry is contemplation, through the riches of language, of human and nonhuman realities, in their separateness and in their numerous encounters, tragic or joyful. Rilke’s powerful Angel standing at the gates of the Elegies, timeless as he is, is there to guard something that the modern era—which gave us so much in other fields—took away from us or only concealed: ecstatic moments, for instance, moments of wonder, hours of mystical ignorance, days of leisure, sweet slowness of reading and meditating. Ecstatic moments—aren’t they one of the main reasons why poetry readers cannot live without Rilke’s work? I mean here readers of contemporary poetry who otherwise are mostly kept on a rather meager diet of irony. The Angel is timeless, and yet his timelessness is directed against the deficiencies of a certain epoch. So is Rilke: timeless and deeply immersed in his own historic time. Not innocent, though: only silence is innocent, and he still speaks to us.
Trên TV đã có 1 mẩu Adam Zagajiewski viết về Rilke. Bi giờ, là 1 bài dài thòng! Đọc loáng thoáng trên đường về, vớ được ý này, mà chẳng khoái sao, đại khái, những bài thơ đầu tay của Rilke, viết khi Adorno chưa phán, thơ làm chó gì sau Lò Thiêu, tuy nhiên, thơ của Rilke đếch cần câu phán đó, hay nói rõ hơn, bằng cái sự cẩn trọng, bằng cái sự cần kiệm, chi ly, nó tiên đoán câu của Adorno!
His early poems, written before Adorno uttered his famous dictum that after Auschwitz poetry's competence was limited-literally, he said, "It is barbaric to write poetry after Auschwitz"-were already imbued with the spirit of limitation and caution.
 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I would like to sing someone to sleep,
to sit beside someone and be there.
I would like to rock you and sing softly
and go with you to and from sleep.
I would like to be the one in the house
who knew: The night was cold.
And I would like to listen in and listen out
into you, into the world, into the woods.
The clocks shout to one another striking,
and one sees to the bottom of time.
And down below one last, strange man walks by
and rouses a strange dog.
And after that comes silence.
I have laid my eyes upon you wide;
and they hold you gently and let you go
when something stirs in the dark. 
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
from The Book of Images
translated by Edward Snow
passport picture 1919
[Nhân sinh nhật em “Valentine”] (1)
Note: Bài thơ trên, có trong tuyển tập thơ mới mua, có tí khác:

TO SAY BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP
I'd like to sing someone to sleep,
sit beside someone and be there.
I'd like to rock you and sing softly
and go with you to and from sleep.
I’d like to be the one in the house
who knew: the night was cold.
And I'd like to hear every little stirring
in you, in the world, in the woods.
The clocks call to one another striking,
and one sees to the bottom of time.
And down below a last strange man walks by
and rouses a strange dog.
And after that comes silence.
I have laid my eyes upon you wide;
and they hold you gently and they let you go
when a thing moves in the dark.



THE FIRST ELEGY
 
Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angels?
Orders? and even if one of them pressed me
suddenly to his heart: I'd be consumed
in his more potent being. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we can still barely endure,
and while we stand in wonder it coolly disdains
to destroy us. Every Angel is terrifying.
Rilke
For me, the happy owner of the elegant slim book bought long ago, the Elegies represented just the beginning of a long road leading to a better acquaintance with Rilke's entire oeuvre. The fiery invocation that starts “The First Elegy” - once again: "Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angels' / Orders? And even if one of them pressed me / suddenly to his heart: 1'd be consumed / in his more potent being. For beauty is nothing / but the beginning of terror, which we can still barely endure" -had become for me a living proof that poetry hadn't lost its bewitching powers. At this early stage I didn't know Czeslaw Milosz's poetry; it was successfully banned by the Communist state from the schools, libraries, and bookstores-and from me. One of the first contemporary poets I read and tried to understand was Tadeusz Rozewicz, who then lived in the same city in which I grew up (Gliwice) and, at least hypothetically, might have witnessed the rapturous moment that followed my purchase of the Duino Elegies translated by Jastrun, might have seen a strangely immobile boy standing in the middle of a side- walk, in the very center of the city, in its main street, at the hour of the local promenade when the sun was going down and the gray industrial city became crimson for fifteen minutes or so. Rozewicz's poems were born out of the ashes of the other war, World War II, and were themselves like a city of ashes. Rozewicz avoided metaphors in his poetry, considering any surplus of imagination an insult to the memory of the last war victims, a threat to the moral veracity of his poems; they were supposed to be quasi-reports from the great catastrophe. His early poems, written before Adorno uttered his famous dictum that after Auschwitz poetry's competence was limited-literally, he said, "It is barbaric to write poetry after Auschwitz"-were already imbued with the spirit of limitation and caution. 
Adam Zagajewski: Introduction








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

TDT

Bi Khúc

Hoàng Hạc Lâu