Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rilke's little gods

There are ideas that you learn and propagate with ease. And then there are ideas that began in the realm of fancy and continued to nag at you over the years and came alive one day when you suddenly discover them in the words of one of those who have come before you.

We aredon't forget it—entirely in the province of guiltlessness.—The terrifying thing is that we possess no religion in which these experiences, being so literal and palpable as they are (for: at the same time so inexpressible and so intangible), may be lifted up into the god, into the protection of a phallic deity who will perhaps have to be the first with which a troop of gods will again invade humanity, after so long an absence.

To say that I'm sharing an intellectual kinship with Rilke is impertinence. But it is immensely thrilling to know that he had actually entertained thoughts that I pondered in seclusion, even if it does nothing more than framing the idea under suspicion in a more serious light. Somewhere hidden in this tangible passage is something that bothers me intangibly: Before I encountered these words, I have been dreaming about images along similar strands—or perhaps I should say Rilke dared me to further advance my thoughts with regard to the identity of these gods. The only problem left is to articulate them. But just how do you assign words to what's holy without fear of defiling it?

You can't.

But the image has been with me for so long, it has to come out. So I've written From Horseback (perhaps also That We Are Like Fire), a desperate attempt to capture the divine fiber.

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