Monday, January 05, 2009

"This too was sleep"

...from Part 1 (Water - The Arrival) of The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch. I suppose this is what happens when someone truly feels driven to write.

In truth, nothing earthly might abandon sleep, and only he who never forgot the night within him was able to complete the cycle, to come home from the timelessness of the beginning to that of the end, beginning the orbit anew, himself a star in the constellation of time's orbit, arising from dusk and sinking into dusk, born and reborn nocturnally out of the night, received by day whose brightness has entered into the darkness, day, taking on the habit of night: yes, so had his nights ever been, all the nights of his life, all the nights through which he had wandered, the nights passed in wakefulness for fear of the unconsciousness that threatens from below the night, for fear of the unshadowed light from above, fearful of forsaking Pan, full of a fear that knows of the peril of twofold timelessness, yes, thus his nights bound to the threshold of the double farewell, nights of the obstinately enduring universal sleep, although people rioted on the squares, in the streets, in the taverns, blindly remaining the same in town after town from the very beginning, the sound of their tumult echoing here inaudibly from the reaches of time and therefore all the more keenly recognized, this too was sleep; although the mighty of the world were being toasted amid a surf of torches and music in hall after hall of feasting, smiled at by faces and more faces, courted by bodies and more bodies, they also smiling and courting, this too was sleep; although the bivouac fires were burning, not only before the castles but yonder too where there was war, at the frontiers, at the night-black rivers, and at the fringes of the night-murmuring forests beneath the rutilant roar of the attacking barbarians breaking out of the night, this too was sleep, sleep and more sleep, like that of the naked gray-beards who in stinking hovels sleep the last remnant of wakefulness out of themselves, like that of the sucklings who dreamlessly drowse away the misery of their birth into the sullen wakefulness of a future life, like that of the enslaved chain-gang in the ship's belly who lay stretched out like torpid reptiles on the benches and decks of coiled ropes, sleep and more sleep, herds and more herds, lifted out from the indiscriminateness of their ground-soil like the ranging mountings of the night at rest on the plains, set into the unchanging matrix, into the constant regression which is not quite timelessness but which reproduces it in every earthly night; yes these nights, so had they ever been, so they were still, and so this night also perhaps enduring forever, night on the tilted threshold of timelessness and time, of farewell and returning, of herd-solidarity and the loneliest utter-loneliness, of fear and salvation and he, thralled on the threshold, waiting night after night on the threshold, blinded by the twilight at the rim of night and by the dusk at the world's edge, knowing as he did the experiences of sleep, he had been lifted into immutability, and as he was taking shape there he was hurled back and aloft into the sphere of verse, into the interrealm of wisdom and poetry, into the dream that is beyond dream and touches on rebirth, the goal of our flight, the song.

Currently listening to: "Aenima" by Tool
Previous activity: A little reading in The Death of Virgil
Next thing on the agenda: Some premature boards review

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