Everyone knows I love a good quote. Sometimes though, a poem will stand out as something that provokes me to be still for a moment and take in the intention. Lately? Of course, Lesser’s recommendation to those that are interested in the Phoenix process, there is this nugget…….
The Holy Longing
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Tell a wise person, or else keep silent.
Because the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.
In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you
when you see the silent candle burning.
Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher lovemaking
sweeps you upward.
Distance does not make you falter.
now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.
And so long as you haven’t experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.
The words are beautiful…..they suggest that in some of us, lies a desire to grow beyond who we are to reach another level of living. To be fair, when you research Gothe, the summary is not kind. He was a mess. He was a lawyer and a scientist, turned poet. His relationships were disasters. He was a cheater, a pervert and by all accounts unsuccessful in making relationships work. Yet, here he captures the desire to rise above. Is the desire enough? It is a case of actions vs. wistful thinking. One makes history of literary works, while the other makes a legacy to the next generation. As a writer, I appreciate the ability to capture the magic of our soul by words. I always have. As a mother and a wife, I wish that the person that wrote something as beautiful as this had a life that lived out what they said.
Perhaps that will never be reconciled for me….for what does a content person have to write about?