Elegy

Pisanello StorkPisanello (c. 1395 – c. 1455)

 

Elegy

True, it is strange to inhabit the earth no longer,
to use no longer customs scarcely acquired,
not to interpret roses, and other things
that promise so much, in terms of human future;
to be no longer all that one used to be
in endlessly anxious hands, and to lay aside
even one’s proper name like a broken toy.
Strange, not to go on wishing one’s wishes. Strange,
to see all that was once relation so loosely fluttering
hither and thither in space. And it’s hard, being dead,
and full of retrieving before one begins to espy
a trace of eternity.—Yes, but all of the living
make the mistake of drawing to sharp distinctions.
Angels, (they say) are often unable to tell
whether they move among the living or the dead. the eternal
torrent whirls all the ages through either realm
for ever, and sounds above their voices in both.
They’ve finally no more need of us, the early-departed,
one’s gently weaned from terrestrial things as one mildly
outgrows the breasts of a mother. But we, that have need of
such mighty secrets, we, for whom sorrow’s so often
source of blessedest progress, could we exist without them?
Is the story in vain, how once, in the mourning for Linos,
venturing earliest music pierced barren numbness, and how,
in the horrified space an almost deified youth
suddenly quitted for ever, emptiness first
felt the vibration that now charms us and comforts and helps?

Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926) 

(translated from German by J.B. Leishman and Stephen Spender)

Advertisements

Stork

Albrecht Dürer (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528) German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist

Albrecht Dürer (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528)
Painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist.

Storks have no syrinx and are mute.
They use soaring, gliding flight, which requires thermal air currents, to conserve energy.  Photographs of storks by Ottomar Anschütz inspired the design of Otto Lilienthal’s experimental gliders of the late 19th century.
Their nests sometimes grow to more than six feet in diameter and ten feet in depth.
Storks were thought to be monogamous which is partly true. They may change mates after migrations, and may migrate without a mate. They tend to be attached to nesting places as much as partners.
Their size, serial monogamy, and faithfulness to an established nesting site contribute to the prominence of storks in culture and in mythology.
W.