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From The Hölderliniae
The Hölderliniae 7.

The roses never looked so good before we gained a dormant garden
help. But roses burn in just one day of this appalling desert heat. An
effervescent sun burning the roses as I must wish it would inflame all
features of the abhorrent politicians plunging a nation into ruin ...
and archaeology! We look in vain for faces from a human past.

Merely to glimpse those faces - and they are fed to us each day dumb
media write of the disgusting swine - leads into sickness of the spirit,
even to suicide of the eternal mind. I am / I am not. Unhappy daily at
a one we once called “life” now in a constant downgrade into the latest
updated slavery. “Einst” / “At one time.” So there were not, for this one
(“this one” is I), shades of the prison house that had “begun” to close:
they’d been so definitely closed by the king spider’s window. Yet He,
the not yet famed and celebrated one, threw up on a lost childhood to
gather spirit from love & claims. “Jetzt” / “At this time”: ambition: a 
most primal devil held to heart: in such pursuit an endless sadness since
fame could not be guaranteed.
Oh, we are seeming free! We live democracy. We not: NO - not divided
into small principalities at the hard mercy of autocratic princes. We harbor
imbecilic faith groups who spend their hymns destroying minds -- but we’re
not at lifelong mercy of consistoria governing lives as His was governed
until death. The best of us have known the radical philosopher: the Kant
from Königsberg: his skepticism laid mines under that faith. At the start,
in the beginning: wholeness, a vast infinity. When shades had gathered:
breaks, classes, poverty. But thus could enter world -- and opposition
would manifest as battle with the world, tension forever and everlasting
motion. Likewise the art of poetry, in nature infinite, demands form’s
limitations to speak at all. A ceaseless mode of discontent is daily bread
and wine: the inability to be pure spirit in the world’s grip measures the
endless slavery. But yet there are surprises: “If what you bear inside you as
truth ever approaches you as beauty” / “Wenn Dir als Schönheit entgegen-
-- accept it gratefully for you need every helpful hand Nature
can offer you.

Where do I turn? Which country have not been to? Which disappointment
still to be wept at? The world, a cyclopaedia of gorgeous places now known
by all and overrun by all. All populations swell, all sights to fill the heart to
overflowing: trashed. Disaster strikes: no mention of the fact that more will
follow in its wake: that, finally, the planet loses its battle with mankind in
the umpteenth extinction. Did He divine this? His tears for beauty’s sake
manifest urgent purpose and they suggest it.

The Hölderliniae 8.

This land is oil’s; this land is gas’s; this land is minerals’;
this land is metals’; this land is electricity’s; this land is
propane’s; this land is bones’; this land is jewels’. This land
is burning’s; this land is digging’s; this land is mining’s; this
land is excavating’s; this land is quarrying’s; dredging’s;
drilling’s; tunneling’s; fracking’s. This land is bombing’s;
gassing’s; this land is subject to nuclearization. This land is
open to subtraction; redistricting; all mortgaging; theft; tax;
development. This land is open to devaluation; to alienation;
to all abstractions; to all disfigurations. This land is open to
uglifications; to flood, to arson; to destruction: in one form
or another it can be taken from you -- although in truth you
never owned it in the first place: but by misunderstanding.

However many pages were signed over; how many affidavits
were designed to certify an ownership; how many bona fide
lawyers, estate agents, bankers, accountants were drawn into
proceedings to swear the land is owned by he who sits on it,
no one under this crest, this emblem, shield or flag can ever
claim to be a lord or lady over it. For centuries the people of
this land claimed it was motherland or fatherland; for years
they fought some other lands for it; for days they marched
over the land with noise and shouting. The land in truth was
never theirs; they never came into their own; there was no
ownership involved -- for everything initially had borne
another mark than theirs. No growth into a patrimony, or
matrimony, or any grant that they could recognize. And
was no coming into their own nation. And notwithstanding
all men of war; all the campaigns and all the revolutions,
the day would never dawn over their heads; nightfall would
never fade over their houses. Deep down under the earth,
the inadmissible abyss would yield no treasure. High up
the sky’s ecstatic light would never yield the sight of stars,
of the deep Aether in which the angels walked, in which
the gods prepared their love to float above their worshipers
to bring them any certainty some space of life were theirs.

I have been walking ground throughout this world, each 
time enslaved to some deep country in the spirit that
would recognize, make my own, call my own. This right
should by some law be every human’s. Each time I landed
from the sea, or rode whatever vehicle over the land, arriving
to some promising adventure, a first and foremost love would
bend into some work; the lares & penates would be greeted
at some house gate; acceptable companions be discovered
to sign community. That is what my progenitor had looked for
all His life, fallen in love with all His life -- until the others’
unrecognizable behavior had frightened him, strengthened
His desire to call back solitude. I sense that solitude as well
and know there is no greater strength than in acceptance - 
yet, back there, you could find community, you could find
brotherhood and sisterhood; you could find love. Ah! what a
word is “love;” how sole it is; how unaffordable it stays deep
in the mind! It stays deep Selah! I am a citizen of everything
and nothing. I live in everywhere and nowhere. I sleep in
silences, sing in absences, never bring home a daily bread
untainted. I am quietly “mad” though not incarcerated. To
be quietly “mad.” You grant me that.

In the far distance I see roses. In the far distance I can smell
lilac. There is the place where all the flowers bloom: the ones 
I did not find in this terrain. I know that there are people there.
They cannot see me. They do not know me. They never will.
Our man, our holy poet knew that some distant day a present
darkness would abstain from people and a so distant and so
forgotten glory in the past would be recovered: it was a plot
to found a Patria. Now it is not available. A hell mistook for
progress grew uncontrollably throughout this epoch. A future
now became a lasting situation and He disguised himself to it
without regret.
The Hölderliniae 28.
There is a break in the work, in the proceedings: one
Feiertag: can you believe it? I am immeasurably far
away in the beloved islands, islands adorable, islands
most beautiful in the whole universe. You fly three
hours north of Tahiti: it’s taken one whole night to
reach Tahiti and you go on from there. I’m taking you
to Polynesia, Ia orana maeva! No way to get away to
Greece from there; we cannot get to Swabia. A lovely
France in the deep Ocean carries the title of French
Polynesia and France owes it a free and nobler ride:
her independence. What has now journeyed under the
stars? Under the ocean? I have a France to love, at
birth known as Great Nation & Great Work, during
our own America’s Great War of Independence. My
home in this existence. In media res. No other center
to the ocean than this one center multiplied. This is
the Internationale and yet no single nation.

The deep Marquesas, Melville’s own islands (I wrote
in a first book) have arched from out an Eden into 
this heart of the Pacific and I have traveled with them,
these divine islands. They are both in the center of the
world and north of every place that you can ever think
of. The sea has carried me and I’ve been nursed in the
great waters. There’s not a single spot in everywhere has
not believed me held in the great waters. Deep in those
woods, the forests of the coastal green, children of fire
and of volcanoes, there is a deeper green, infinitely more
green than any green on earth far from these islands. It is
the place to take some rest, to collect some rest in those
same arms of the deep waters. Off Fatu Hiva. Off Hiva Oa.
Off Nuku Hiva, Ua Huka, Tahuata, Ua Pou, off all desert
and all inhabited, speaking our people’s idiom. Viikona
mahina hei mahina. Puaha te ani. Haa pokeekete ani. 

Tai nui. Tai Tokapuha. Hora o te tai. The language quite
another than the Tahitian. Where is the floor in those deep
seas? Where is the base of world? The ocean dives down
into the arms of Sun this time and into sound surrounding,
urging you down, sinking you down into the last face of
these waters. Sun turns over in a somersault to touch those
buried faces of this planet.

Nathaniel Tarn is a Franco-Anglo-American poet, critic, translator, and editor, with some 35 publications. He is also a cultural anthropologist, specializing in religious systems (Guatemala, Burma, et cetera). He has traveled extensively in every continent but has, since 1984, resided in the desert north west of Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife, poet and printer Janet Rodney.