Ein jeder Engel ist schrecklich


The Master had prepared an epitaph, in advance of his inevitable death, to be incised deeply into the black granite slab that would conceal him permanently in the floor of the ante-chapel.

Who, if I cried out, would hear me – among the ranked Angels?
Even if one suddenly clasped me to his heart
I would die of the force of his being. For beauty is only
the infant of scarcely endurable terror, and we
are amazed when it casually spares us.
Every Angel is terrifying.*

(From the unpublished, and unwritten 4th volume in the Oxford Noir series, The King and the Queen City)

*Adapted from Stephen Cohn’s translation of Ranier Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies, ‘Die erste Elegie,’ originally published by Northwest University Press, 1989, p. 21.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s