General survey of the Trakl-Site:

The Poetry and Letters
Kaleidoskope der Mehrdeutigkeit
Materials on Trakl
email

Georg Trakl:
The Poetical Bequest

(Part 3)

and the
German version of the Trakl-Site.



 
Internet Literaturnische

The order follows the German historical-critical edition
by Walter Killy and Hans Szklenar.

Collection 1909 (in part 1)
Poems 1909-12 (in part 1)
Poems 1912-14 (in part 2)
Double Versions of the poems published during Trakl's lifetime (in part 2)
Complexes of Poems and Fragments
Dramatic Fragments
Aphorisms (two texts)

 


 

Complexes of Poems and Fragments

 

The monk listens long to the dying bird by the forest's edge

O the nearness of death, decaying crosses at the hill

The sweat of fear that arises on the waxen forehead.

O the dwelling in blue caves of gloom.

O blood-stained apparition who climbs down the narrow pass

So that the possessed breaks lifeless in the silver knees.

The ill soul fills itself with snow and leprosy

When it listens to the insanity of the nymph in the evening,

The dark flutes [...] in the meager reeds;

Sinisterly its image contemplates in the starry pond;

Silently the maid rots in the thorn bush

And the desolate paths and empty villages

Cover themselves with yellow grass.

Down over buried stairs - purple abyss.

Version: - In the Glossary:
Nymph

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Where the possessed stand by black walls

In autumn the pale wanderer climbs down

Where before a tree was, a blue deer in the bush

The gentle eyes of Helian open

To listen.

Where in sinister rooms once the lovers slept

The blind one plays with silver snakes,

The autumnal melancholy of the moon.

Grey the limbs dry up in brown garb

A stony arch

That ecstacizes in the mirror of putrescent water.

Bony mask which once was singing.

How taciturn the site.

 

A mephitic countenance, that sinks to the shadows,

A thorn bush that seeks the red coat of the penitent;

Quietly the magic finger of the blind one follows

His extinct stars

A white creature is the lonely man

That marveling moves arms and legs,

Purple sockets therein faded eyes roll.

Down over buried stairs where demons stand

A sound of autumnal cymbals fades away

Again a white abyss opens.

Version: - In the Glossary:
Helian

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Through black forehead the dead city goes awry

The cloudy river over which gulls flutter

Gutters cross at bygone walls

A red tower and jackdaws. Over there

Winter clouds that ascend.

 

Those sing the decline of the sinister city;

Sad childhood that plays in the hazel bush in the afternoon,

Listens to blue music in the evening under brown chestnuts,

The fountain fulfilled by golden fish.

Over the countenance of the sleeper the aged father bends

The good one's bearded countenance that has gone far

In the darkness

O cheerfulness again, a white child

Gliding away by extinct windows.

Where before a tree was, a blue deer in the bush

The gentle eyes of Helian open

To die.

 

Where by walls the shadows of the ancestors stand,

A lonely tree was before, a blue deer in the bush

The white human climbs on golden stairs,

Helian down in the sighing darkness.

 

Sinisterly a brown deer bleeds in the bush;

Lonely the blind one that climbs down over decayed stairs.

In the room the dark flutes of insanity.

The ill soul fills with snow and leprosy,

When in the evening it contemplates its image in the rosy pond.

Decayed eyelids open weeping in the hazel bush.

O the blind one

Who silently climbs down over decayed stages in the darkness.

In darkness Helian's eyes sink.

 

Version: - In the Glossary:
Helian

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Summer. In sunflowers yellow rotten bones rattled,

The evening of the decayed garden sank to young monks

Scent and gloom of the old elder tree,

Since the deceased sister stepped out of Sebastian's shadow,

Purple the sleeping one's mouth broke.

And the silver voice of the angel

Playing boys at the hill. O how quiet the time

Of September and one who moved along in black boat

On the starry pond, by dry reed.

Into wild bird's flight and cry.

Far a head went in shadow and stillness

Of autumn,

The shadow of the sleeper climbed down decayed stairs.

 

Far away the mother sat in the shadow of autumn

A white head. Over decayed steps

In the garden the dark sleeper climbed down.

Complaint of the thrush.

O the hairy city; star and rosy awaking.

Far the white sleeper went in the brown shadow

Of autumn.

Over decayed steps his heart shined, a moon,

Blue flowers resounded quietly after him,

Quietly a star.

 

Or when he a soft novice

In the evening stepped into Saint Ursula's dusking church,

A silver flower his countenance rescued in curls

And in showers the blue coat of the father surrounded him

The dark coolness of the mother

Or when he a soft novice

In the evening stepped into Saint Ursula's dusking church,

A silver voice rescued the countenance in hairy curls,

And in showers the

Version: - In the Glossary:
Sebastian - Saint Ursula

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Fragments

 

1
Childhood

 

What quietly walks under autumn's trees

By the green river, over which gulls glide -

The leaves fall; simple-mindedness of dark times.

It's God's rest. The evening shadows border

A black bird sings in autumn's trees.

A hand-folding tired and peaceful

In the evening the eyes follow

Their bird-signs, before they give way to the slumber -

Memory of the boy soft and lanky .

 

A black bird sings in autumn's trees

The peace of these days sweet and powerful

Also the soul silently wants to prepare.

 

2
A cross towers Elis
Your body on dusking paths

 

3
Birth

Walk with the father, walk with the mother

 

4
In Spring

Evening has become in the old garden.

 

5
Night Transformation, Death and Soul

When I sank at the black hill of sleep tired of the wilderness and despair of sinister winter days, a dream came to me on glowing wing:

 

6
When the day sank K drove

 

7
The homeless one turns
Back to mossy forests

 

8
At evening Münch awaked at the border of the forest. A golden cloud expired over him and the dark stillness of autumn filled him with fear, the loneliness of the hills all around.

 

9
In spring; a delicate corpse
Shining in its grave
Under the wild
Elder bushes of childhood.

 

10
Nocturnal beeches; in the heart
Of a dark landscape dwells a red worm.

 

11
Snowy night!
You dark sleepers
Under the bridge
Crystalline sweat drips
From your broken forehead

Version: - In the Glossary:
Elis - Münch

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Dramatic Fragments

 

 

Bluebeard

A Puppet Play (fragment)

 

Anitcipation
If you bemoan, righteous one this confused picture,
That is rumpled by laughter and madness
Believe me, until we meet again
My hero will go on more modest ways!
Amen!

Persons:
Bluebeard
The Old Man
Herbert
Elisabeth

 

1. Scene [First version]

Room in the palace. It is night. Organ-play fades away.
THE OLD MAN (by the window):

God be merciful to him! The Mass is over -

Now they step outside the church!

God be merciful to her!

HERBERT (kneeling):

God be merciful to her - the pale bride!

(fearfully) Seems to me, I heard a sighing sound

Emerge from the night! Kindest God!

Help the sinners out of their infernal need!

I won't endure it!

THE OLD MAN:

In the treetops spring's roar digs!

Be still! My boy, they approach!

HERBERT (as if ecstatic):

All who

Did not see the day after this night

Now they are awakened again down there

And sigh into the blood bride's night!

Take from me ear and eye! I am cursed!

The night is full of insanity - and nefarious!

Help! Old man do you hear the scream!

THE OLD MAN (still): No!

HERBERT:

Let me go! Into the village!

In an open place I want to kneel down

And want to confess - what happened here -

And today happens - that they far and near

Ring alarm bells in the night -

Still before the nameless is done!

THE OLD MAN:

I won't stop you! If you were imposed

To do this, then you may do it!

I pity you!

HERBERT:

Father! Pray, for me!

So that I betray the master to whom I am slave.!

We never see! I hear he approaches!

Away! Away! Good bye!

THE OLD MAN:

Good bye!

(Herbert exits)

1. Scene [Second version]

Room in the palace. It is night. Organ-play fades away.
THE OLD MAN (by the window):

God be merciful to him! The Mass is over -

Now they step outside the church!

God be merciful to her!

HERBERT (kneeling):

God be merciful to her - the pale bride!

(fearfully) Seems to me, I heard a sighing sound

Emerge from the night! Kindest God!

Help the sinners out of their infernal need!

I won't endure it!

THE OLD MAN:

In the treetops spring's roar digs!

Be still! My boy, they approach!

HERBERT (as if ecstatic):

All who

Did not see the day after this night

Now they are awakened again down there

And sigh into the blood bride's night!

Take from me ear and eye! I am cursed!

The night is full of insanity - and nefarious!

Help! Old man do you hear the scream!

THE OLD MAN (still): No!

HERBERT:

I saw her go, like an extinguishing light

Through my dream, and could not believe it

Felt her nearness, like in fever-glow -

And had to weep and flee before them!

A bad dream made me ill

Now I weep the whole night

I forgot - why!

THE OLD MAN:

Your childhood days are over -

HERBERT: Let me go, old man, let me go.

Carrion vultures flutter around the place again!

They pour blood on the threshold -

There where the bride must kneel down

See old man - do you see the blood?

THE OLD MAN:

The torches' flickering glow!

HERBERT:

The shadows beckon to the pale bride

What calls me to act - I dread it so !

Turn around - you maid! Still a step from the gate!

Yet, you beloved women step forward!

Death before the threshold! Pray for me!

Death before the threshold: Let me to die for you.

Maria - virgin o please for me!

(He jumps out of the window)

THE OLD MAN (falls to the knees):

Therefore God do you let spring come

To this dark earth?

1. Scene [Third version; fragment]

THE SERVANT:

God be merciful to her!

How she moves - like an extinguishing light

Like a distant dream - o don't you feel her!

And if I look at her, I feel fever-glow -!

And would like to kneel down before her

What is it that makes my heart burn so

And lends the night a thousand voices!

THE OLD MAN:

You should not look at her, my poor child

THE BOY:

God be merciful to her the pale bride

 

2. Scene

Bluebeard and Elisabeth

ELISABETH:

My master! When we went through this house

Then all torches extinguished!

BLUEBEARD:

My dove, do you feel even in this a meaning?

ELISABETH:

I do not know master! My hands glow!

I think it weeps somewhere incessantly.

BLUEBEARD:

Go! Old man! Lie down to rest!

THE OLD MAN (kneels down before him):

God be good to you!

BLUEBEARD:

Why do you weep?

THE OLD MAN:

Already one hundred years now my blood circles -

Have never seen a master in the world -

Who was tormented by God like you!

Would give gladly this bit of life for you -

And can only weep and kneel before you!

BLUEBEARD:

You talk crazy! Go old child!

THE OLD MAN (kisses his hands):

Have mercy on these hands so pale -

O Jesus! these hands so pale

Good night! (exit)

BLUEBEARD (at the window):

The moon

Ogles like a drunken strumpet -

ELISABETH:

I freeze!

BLUEBEARD (steps back):

Here shaking babe - drink wine!

That your eyes glow! How purely they see!

Hey! Are you foolish! I drink to you!

Did I forget it? How old are you?

ELISABETH:

Fifteen years master! On this night!

How are you, master?

BLUEBEARD:

Did I laugh?

Hey drink! You delicate bride!

Only look how the moon watches you in heat!

ELISASBETH:

I do not understand you, am afraid of you!

BLUEBEARD:

Really! Your cheeks are pale!

I sing you a song which will make you laugh.

ELISABETH:

Would you sing that?

BLUEBEARD:

I know thousands of little songs for you,

That I often heard in such a night.

 

(He sings)

Who says that her light had extinguished,

As I loosened her hair for the celebration.

What do you accuse me of, you bells

Should rather rejoice.

Who says that her mute mouth rots,

When I was by you through the night.

O be silent, be silent, you quiet

Endless sad melody.

Who says that a grave would stand open,

And that in the glance I have something evil!

If my heart would know this!

Have mercy, o Jesus Christ!

ELISABETH sobs

BLUEBEARD:

How the shimmering tears become you!

Drink wine!

ELISABETH:

I have spilled it - it shines like blood!

BLUEBEARD:

Did you say blood! The moon's cloudy glow

Nothing else! Do you hear how the May rushes!

ELISABETH:

It seems to me someone listens trembling in the darkness

[]

Dreamed yesterday an evil dream

Under the linden tree at father's house.

(dreamy) Heinrich, my boy! Help!

BLUEBEARD (whispering):

You whore!

Is it a monkey or is it a bull -

Wolf or other clawing creatures!

Hey merrily pecked by the night,

Until two only more makes one -

And that is three!

So I heard the sparrows whistle in May!

ELISABETH (as if bewitched):

Come dear! Fire flows in my hair

Never know, never, what was yesterday

Blood shuts and chokes my throat

Now I have no more nights of rest!

Would like to walk naked in the sun,

Let myself be seen by all eyes,

And pray a thousand pains on me

And cause pain to you, with raging fury!

Come my boy! Drink my fervor,

Are you not thirsty after my blood,

After my burning hairs' flood?

Don't you hear, how the birds cried in the forest

Take everything, everything that I am -

You strong man - my life - you shall take!

What makes you distant -

BLUEBEARD:

When the last star will be extinguished --

ELISABETH (as if bewitched):

Do you not carry a small key around your neck?

It shines could it be a golden one?

What does it open for me?

BLUEBEARD:

It opens the door to the bridal room!

Its mystery is rot and death,

Blossomed out of the flesh's deepest need.

(It strikes midnight! All light extinguishes)

At midnight you bride in heat

Becoming blue when you grasp death's flower -

This sweet mystery shall be confided to you.

Because God died once for the flesh's need

The devil must celebrate death for his lust.

(He unlocks a door)

Do you hear Azrael's wing beat -

Like you heard the birds crying in the hedge.

Hatred, rot and death whip lust

Arisen out of the blood, screaming and red

Come trembling bride! (He pounces on her)

ELISABETH:

Whew! Whew! How it shakes me and terrifies!

Not you! Not you! O save me!

Dear!

BLUEBEARD:

Like your boy so chaste, o I love you!

But to possess you completely little child -

By God's will I must slit your neck!

You dove, and drink your blood so red

And your twitching, foaming death!

And suck out your bowels

Your shame and your virginity

ELISABETH:

Mercy! What do you drag me by the hair!

BLUEBEARD:

Chastely blossoming rose on my altar -

ELISABETH:

God stand by me! You drooling animal!

BLUEBEARD:

It is a monkey or it is a bull

Wolf or other clawing creatures

Hey merrily pecked by the night,

Until two only more makes one -

And one is death!

ELISABETH:

Does nobody bend to my dreaded need?

BLUEBEARD (shouts):

God!

(He drags her in the depth. One hears a screaming shout. Then deep stillness. After some time Bluebeard appears, dripping with blood, and drunkenly beside himself and falls as if mowed down before a Crucifix)

BLUEBEARD (expiring):

God!

 

Fragmentary Scene

BLUEBEARD:

Is a joking mild guest again.

What makes you so hot - you almost have a fever!

(He strokes her fingers)

You breathe this moony night -

That makes newts and lilies lustful.

Hey, how it foams out of quivering cups,

And rears up festering body by body -

And slobbering embraces full of rage -

And struggles - and struggles!

So hot and hard

Version: - In the Glossary:
Bluebeard - The Old Man - Herbert - Elisabeth - The Servant - Jesus Christ - Mary - Devil - Azrael

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Don Juan's Death
[A tragedy in three Acts; fragment]

Prologue

[...] festive high dreams [...]
[...]
[...] Dionysian countenance
In which the joys of a gods' world,

That once sank away, seemed revived

A grandson of those who loved the gods

And who life blesses and frees.

Woe!

From you the hollow and painful[...] mask

Of mundane existence stares at me stony,

Behind it death and fervent insanity lurk.

[...]
[destiny ...] flaming out of agony
[...]
With a sinister act, in the duality of your being -

One strangely born and directed by agony

A beaten winner, self-doomed,

On icy summits that are strange for man,

A hunter who sends arrows against God.

The Tragedy's Third Act
[First version]

 

Scene: A hall in the castle of Don Juan.

CATALINON (murmuring to himself):

What paws there at the door! Just go on!

I don't move! - It seems patient like

An animal that wants to draw an answer

Even from silence - paws and paws! Hey you,

Pay attention! Hell is here - did I say hell?

Perhaps heaven's entrance also. Who knows!

The sluggish word grasps in vain

After the incomprehensible that touches our mind's

Last borders only in dark silence.

Just not so loud, I come already and open!

(He goes to the door and pushes back the bolt)

Enter, you untiring one! If you are

A person, leave your language outside,

So you do not use it meddlesomely.

FIORELLO (his whole body shaking, enters)

CATALINON:

Yet at once I thought this!

FIORELLO:

That only you are here!

The house is empty, the servants have fled,

Yelling out the atrocities loudly in the night

That are prepared here in this hour.

CATALINON:

Be silent old man!

FIORELLO:

O nameless sacrilege!

CATALINON:

Forgo the end of the speech, after all, I know

Whereof your wit is made up. Be silent, as I

Said.

FIORELLO:

I'm silent already, you dreadful person.

CATALINON:

If you like, you can also go again!

You would feel better --

FIORELLO:

I should leave my master!

I will stay here, even if the fear kills me,

And the expectation of that what will

Come.

(He sits down)

CATALINON (humming to himself):

In your expired eyes

I plant a blazing light

I snatch you from death's darkness

And God and the devil, they do not hinder it!

FIORELLO:

The horrible one!

CATALINON (listening attentively):

He approaches - he comes!

(Don Juan appears in the door to the right side through which one sees the corpse of Donna Anna lying on a daybed in a sickly illuminated room.)

DON JUAN:

Away, terrible face!

What makes you rouse me from my bed

When this hour's deepest thrill of ecstasy

Still shakes in my blood and fills me

With superhuman visions. Away, away!

You grimace born by a lustily fright,

I'm nauseated when I look at you - I don't want to

And have to. So I catch you cursed

Shape, you sputum of my hot senses,

Strangle you with these hands, scorch

You with my breath's fervor, animal face!

Ah! Do you float before me and look on me

From death-numb eye sockets, wherein

The sinisterness, which no beam of light ever

Illuminated, weeps. And you fill the room with silence,

Which pale, grave-deep creeps into my heart's

Foaming pulses and squirms serpent-like

Around the drunken delight of my senses,

So that farther always farther life's

Many-voiced noise fades away from me, refracting

With nauseating dreariness. The room constricts and

Devours the certain form of things

Nearby. It climbs upon me and already

Threatens to enfold me. Away apparition!

Still my blood resounds of this world

The earth holds me and I laugh at you.

(He lurches to the window and pushes open it)

Here I open the gates to life widely,

And sounding it concocts herein to enfold me,

It wraps me with its wings - and I -

Belong to it!

And inhale the world, am world again

Am harmony, reflection of hot colors - am

Infinite movement - am.

 

The Tragedy's Third Act
[Second version]

Scene: A hall in the castle of Don Juan.

Don Juan appears in the door to the right side through which one sees the corpse of Donna Anna lying in a brightly illuminated room on a daybed.

DON JUAN:
Away, terrible face!

What makes you rouse me from my bed

When this hour's deepest thrill of ecstasy

Still shakes in my blood and fills me

With superhuman visions. Away, away!

You grimace born by a lustily fright!

I shudder, when I look at you - I don't want to

And have to. (With hands seizing into the emptiness) So I

                                                                 catch you cursed

Shape, you sputum of my hot senses,

Strangle you with these hands, scorch

You with my breath's fervor, animal face!

Ah! Do you float before me and look on me

From death-numb eye sockets, wherein

The sinisterness, which no beam of light ever

Illuminated, weeps. And you fill the room with silence,

Which pale, grave-deep creeps into my heart's

Foaming pulses and squirms serpent-like

Around the drunken delight of my heart,

Many-voiced noise fades away from me, refracting

With nauseating dreariness. The room constricts and

Devours the certain form of things

Nearby. It climbs upon me and already

Threatens to enfold me. Away - apparition!

Still my blood resounds of this world

The earth holds me and I laugh at you.

(He lurches to the window and pushes open it)

Here I open the gates to life widely,

And sounding it concocts herein to enfold me,

And inhale the world, am world again

Am harmony, reflection of hot colors - am

Infinite movement! Am!

(He sinks to the steps with a loud shout)

 

II. Appearance

Appearing: the house caretaker Fiorello and Catalinon.

 

Version: - In the Glossary:
Don Juan - Fiorello - Catalinon - Dionysus

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Drama Fragment
[version 1]

1

Hut at the edge of a forest. In the background a castle. It is evening.
THE TENANT:
Our day's work is done. The sun has set. Let's go in the house.
PETER:
One found the body of a boy today at the mill. The orphans of the village sang his black rot. The red fish ate his eyes and an animal mauled the silver body; the blue water braided a wreath of nettles and wild thorns in his dark locks.
THE TENANT:
Red yesterday, when a wolf tore my first-born. Curse, curse through sinister years. Whereby do you remind me: quietly the bells sound, slowly the black footbridge arches over the brook and the red hunts fade away in the forests. Darkly the insanity sings in the village; tomorrow we may lift the pall of a beloved dead person. Let us go. O the ringing herds along the forest's edge, the murmur of the corn -
PETER:
Your daughter -
THE TENANT:
You speak of your sister! I saw her countenance tonight in the pond of stars, wrapped in bleeding veils. The father's strangeress -
PETER:
The sister singing in the thorn bush and the blood ran from her silver fingers, sweat from the waxy forehead. Who drank her blood?
THE TENANT:
God, you have afflicted my house. In the dawning room I stand with inclined head, before the flame of my hearth; in it is soot and purity, and in the shadow I know a bony guest; go blind glowing. Where are you Peter?
PETER:
Green snakes whisper in the hazel bush - step in angelic flame -
THE TENANT:
O the ways full of barb and stone. Who calls you; that you leave the house in slumber and the white head before the cock crows in the morning.
PETER:
O the gate of the cloister which quietly shuts. Thunderstorms move about the palace. Hellish grimaces and the flaming swords of the angels. Away! Away! Good bye.
THE TENANT:
O the harvest [...] Already the wild grass murmurs on the steps of the house, the scorpion nests in the walls. O my children.
Maria you speak a small ghost light to me, gone away child, a blue spring my deceased wife and the old trees fall on us. Who speaks? Johanna, daughter white voice in the night wind, from what sad pilgrimages do you come home. O you, blood of my blood, way and dreaming woman in moony night - who you are? Peter, darkest son, a beggar you sit at the edge of the stony field, starving to fulfill the stillness of your father. O the summer gravity of the corn; sweat and guilt and, finally, the tired head also sinks in empty rooms. O the murmur of the linden-tree from childhood on, vain hope of the life, the petrified bread! End now silent night. (He hides the head in the hands)

2

Thorny wilderness, ro cks, a spring. It is night.
JOHANNA:
Sting black thorn. Alas the silver arms still sound from the wild thunderstorm. Flow blood from the raving feet. How white they have become from nocturnal ways! O the screams of the rats in the courtyard, the smell of the daffodils. Rosy spring nests in the aching brows. What do you putrid dreams of childhood play in my broken eyes. Away! Away! Does not scarlet fever run from my mouth. White dances in the moon. Animal broke into the house with wheezy throat. Death! Death! O how sweet is life! The mother dwells in the bleak tree, looks at me with my sad eyes. White lock of the father sank in the elder bush beloved it is my burning hair. Do not touch it, sister with your cold fingers.
THE APPARITION:
Quiet floating of glowing blossom -
JOHANNA:
Woe, the wound which gapes near your heart, dear sister.
THE APPARITION :
Burning lust; agony without end. Feel my lap's blackish labor pains.
JOHANNA:
In your shadow whose countenance appears; joined from metal and fiery angels in the glace; broken swords in the heart.
THE APPARITION:
Woe! My murderer! (The apparition sinks)
JOHANNA:
The glowing dishonor which kills me; Elai! Snowy fire in the moon!
(She falls unconsciously in the thorn bush which closes about her)
THE TRAVELLER:
Who screamed at night, disturbs my sweet forgetfulness in black cloud? Way and hill where I rested in glowing tears - let God only be dream, the step in the mossy forest, hut I left in the sunset, wife and child. Way out of these dreadful shadows.
THE MURDERER:
Leaden stages in nothingness. Who tore me out of sleep; called me to go on desolate paths. Who has taken my countenance, transformed the heart into lime. Accursed your name! Who has taken the lamp from my hands. Wild forgetfulness. Who presses the knife in my red right hand. Laughing gold! Accursed! Accursed! (He stares in the air)
THE TRAVELLER:
How dark it has become around me; voice in the inside announces calamity, holy mother dry the sweat on my forehead, the blood; sad blackbird call, afternoon sun in the forest - where did I dream this?
THE MURDERER (attacking him):
Dog, your skeleton! (He stabs him)
THE TRAVELLER (dying):
The black hand away from my throat the nocturnal wound away from the eyes - purple nightmare of childhood. (He sinks back)
THE MURDERER: Laughing gold, blood - o accursed! (He searches the satchel of the dead person)

 

Drama Fragment
[version 2]

First Act

Who is there?
VOICE OUTDOORS:
Open! (Peter opens, Kermor enters)
KERMOR:
In the forest I broke the neck of my black horse, when insanity broke from his purple eyes. The shadow of the elms fell on me, the blue laughter of the water. Night and moon! Where am I. I break into sweet slumber, silver witch's hair flutters around me! Strange nearness darkens around me. (He sinks down by the stove)
PETER:
His temple bleeds. His countenance is black from arrogance and grief, father!
THE TENANT:
The day's work is done, the sun has set. Stillness our life.
PETER:
One found the body of the monk today at the mill. The orphans of the village sang his black decay. Red fish ate his eyes and an animal mauled the silver body; the blue water braided a wreath of nettles and wild thorns in his dark locks.
THE TENANT:
Red yesterday, greening morning. My wife has died, the first-born corruptly, the old man's face goes blind. Curse through sinister years. Who came as a stranger to us?
KERMOR (in sleep):
Fade away you red hunts. Black footbridge, slowly arched over the brook. Forests and bells. Quietly the silver hand lifts the pall of the sinister sleeping woman, offers the metal heart in thorns. Moony countenance -
THE TENANT:
Did the flame in the stove extinguish! Who leaves me!
PETER:
O the sister singing in the thorn bush and the blood runs from her silver fingers, sweat from her waxy forehead. Who drinks her blood?
KERMOR (in sleep):
O her ways in stone. Star countenance wrapped in icy veils; singing strangeress - - Sinisterness surges in my heart.
THE TENANT:
Dreadful God who came in my house. The grain is harvested, the grape pressed. O the sinister rooms!
PETER:
Sweat and guilt! Father, hear, the gate of the cloister which quietly opens. Falling stars! Thunderstorms move about the palace, hellish grimaces and the flaming swords of the angels - -
KERMOR (in sleep):
Girls your glowing womb in the pond of stars --
PETER:
O the roses, rumbling in thunders! Away! Away! Good bye. (He rushes forth)
KERMOR (in sleep):
Cease, black worm which bores purpley at the heart! Decayed moon, pursuing through rotten boulders --
THE TENANT: Peter, darkest son, a beggar you sit at the edge of the stoniest field, starving, so that you fulfilled the silence of your father. O the autumn weight of the wheat, sickle and hard walk and, finally, the white head sinks in the bleak room. (At this moment Johanna steps out of her sleeping chamber) Johanna, a small ghost light you speak to us, stiller child, with the blue voice of the well my deceased wife and the old trees, planted by a dead person, fall on us. Who speaks. Johanna, daughter, white voice in the night wind, prepared for purple pilgrimage; o you blood of my blood, path and dreaming woman in moony night. Who are we? O vain hope of the life; o the petrified bread! (His head sinks down)
JOHANNA (sleepwalking):
O the wild grass on the stages which mauls the freezing soles, picture in hard crystal, let you dig with silver nails - o sweet blood.
KERMOR (awaking):
Awakening out of brown poppy! Quietly the soft voices of the angels fall silent. Howl autumn storm! Drop over me, black mountains, cloud of steel; guilty path which led me here.
JOHANNA:
Laughing voice in the night wind --
KERMOR (catching sight of her):
Thorny stages in rot and darkness; purple hell-flame flame! (He rises and flees in the darkness)
JOHANNA (very erect):
My blood over you - because you broke in my sleep.

Version: - In the Glossary:
The Tenant - Peter - Johanna - Maria ('The Apparition') - The Traveller - The Murderer - Kermor - Elai

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Aphorisms

 

Only he who despises fortune gains insight.
[1908]

Feeling in the moments of deathlike existence: all people are worthy of love. Awakening you feel the world's bitterness; in it is all your unresolved guilt; your poem an imperfect atonement.
[1914]

 

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