Saturday, 8 August 2009

"Denn mein Herz gehört den Toten an!" (Hölderlin)

"My heart belongs to the dead!" exclaims Hölderlin in a poem written in April 1794. As any reader, perhaps, awakened to the dire reality of the living.

But isn't that the human condition par excellence? The condition of reading – loving that which is no more or perhaps never was, and still is – even more than what "really" is?

Love for the ephemeral. For that which will soon cease being. Any moment.

Love for God, too. For "God is dead". Don't we, the "Christians" (and I would always emphasize my "religious atheism"), actually love the God who became flesh, the perishable god, the Son of Man? The God who could always perish, and did, too. The Lovable God instead of the God to be Feared (I get no reasonable top Google results for "fearable"). The Suffering God instead of the Eternal and Immaculate.

Maybe this is just my perversion – as a non-believer – but the story of Good Friday as a non-happy end seems more intriguing and cathartic than its sequel, the story of resurrection, etc. etc.

* * *

Click on the thumbnail below to read Hölderlin's Griechenland (Apr. 1794) in Sattler's Bremen edition (Hölderlin, Sämtliche Werke, Briefe und Dokumente, ed. Sattler [München: Luchterhand, 2004], 26-28). I trust this fits within the rules of Fair Use. Sorry for the less than perfect quality of the scan.

No comments: