Ein jeder Engel ist schrecklich

Bod-Noir

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(From the unpublished, and unwritten 4th volume in the Oxford Noir series, The King and the Queen City)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

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