Vestiges

Song, from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, by Rainer Maria Rilke –

You, whom I do not tell that all night long
I lie weeping,
whose very being makes me feel wanting
like a cradle.

You, who do not tell me, that you lie awake
thinking of me:–
what, if we carried all these longings within us
without ever being overwhelmed by them,
letting them pass?

Look at these lovers, tormented by love,
when first they begin confessing,
how soon they lie!

You make me feel alone. I try imagining:
one moment it is you, then it’s the soaring wind;
a fragrance comes and goes but never lasts.
Oh, within my arms I lost all whom I loved!
Only you remain, always reborn again.
For since I never held you, I hold you fast.

Edvard Munch, Man and Woman I, woodcut, 1905:

Munch-ManandWoman

6 thoughts on “Vestiges

  1. Rob says:

    Oh my. Those considerations are so familiar it is almost like I put them on paper myself. The ephemeral qualities of the late longings haven’t yet appeared but ya I know they will breeze in, eventually.

    • artmodel says:

      Rob,

      I was hoping that some readers would find Rilke’s words as affecting as I did. “Ephemeral qualities”, as you said, and the emotions they stir, are difficult to describe. This poem by Rilke communicates them really well.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

  2. cauartprof says:

    Claudia,
    The melancholy in your post is palpable. I hope you are OK. The weather certainly is not helping, though things have finally gotten warmer. I wish you a very good week to start February.

    Once again you have managed to surprise and captivate with your choice of art to illustrate the Rilke poem. I have never seen that particular Munch before. The cutting of the block is direct and raw. He often printed multiple colors at the same time and this is clearly apparent on this proof (rather than the more traditional method of a separate block for each color).

    By the way, glad you were able to see the Dutch show at the Frick and I have also been stopped in my tracks by the Rembrandt self-portrait there! Best,
    Chris

    • artmodel says:

      Chris,

      You are so kind to express concern for me, thank you. Yes, this post reflects some of what I’ve been going through lately … still grappling with old heartbreak and vivid memories of things lost; intimacy and friendship with someone I loved very much. I’ll be ok though.

      As a woodcut printmaker you can certainly appreciate Munch’s work here. I have recently become fascinated with Munch’s prints. I love his style. Yes, his carving is “raw”. I like that a lot. A few more pieces here: http://www.edvard-munch.com/gallery/wood/

      Thanks so much for your comments! Great to hear from you 🙂

      Claudia

  3. Jennifer says:

    Beautiful but sad words, combined with a stunning image – hope things will lift up for you soon, but of course these deep pains do keeping rising to the surface. As noted in the comments, the arrival of spring might help, especially as you’ve had such a cold winter in NYC. By February, winter always seems to have gone on for long enough! Thinking of you.

    • artmodel says:

      Jennifer,

      This relentlessly cold and brutal winter sure isn’t helping in mood issues. We are bracing for yet another snow and ice blast after just experiencing one two days ago! I’ve never longed for spring more intensely than I am this winter season.

      Thank you so much for your sensitive and compassionate comments. What you said is so true, about pains “rising to the surface”. I am, unfortunately, a slow “recoverer” from heartache 😥

      Claudia

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