“Evaporation and concentration of the self. That is the crux.” Charles Baudelaire: My heart laid bare
1.The Tower of Babel
We have come here from all over; from the north, they say the place
is called Kiruna, and they even venture to say that they have encoun- tered people who claim to live on fish alone. But other massive crowds show up here, some eastern folks from the great river of Volga as well as tribesmen who claimed that they sailed across the mother-of-seas
– the great Mediterranean which shall never be conquered by either titans or kings. As for these people who traversed the ocean of an ear- ly Poseidon we ask them not without patience; does one find the great library of Alexandria over there not overturned, burned by hostile men? And when these folks nod we shiver because one day we might go there – for the spirit of man needs poetry as well as some science. But no one must be omitted. Oblivion might cause a scandal: everywhere the spirit is great: they have come here exhausted and often with fran- tic eyes inspired by longing and faith – from the great country of Spain, that is – far from this aspiring tower, and the desert, and also from Novi Sad, Pristina, the great city of Brno – we could go on forever. And now we have slept – now we have dreamt of the heavenly delights, so that we are ready to join forces, prepared to form a chain that shall achieve fusion between hands and bricks and noble sweat, in short: The Tower of Babel is coming to life. We shall not dwell too disgracefully on the obvious beauty of the construction and the many noble workmen, nor on the so called linguistic parable, which will provide scattered mankind with one language, one goal, one agora of eternal peace; evaporation has led the day, many a tongue-tied tribe fought the next, and whoev- er won the vain battle claimed that an inferior dialect was the superior one. But now we must pray; ancient man – so memory has it – speaks of heaven as a place occupied, a vicious place scandalized by repres- sive forces – in one word: a vigilant God. And this might we invoke: have our tower grow like a tricolored organism, a supple tongue for the one and the many; let us avoid a major sin: that of the American idol who tries to determine all widespread linguistics, our inner core.
2. Migration in the heavens
Era of the past, you have had it your way: either God migrated himself – or some un-American soul came and blew the close-fisted away; the sky is clear, dust has fallen for centuries everywhere – especially here: the Indo-European cemetery where the men of Moses and Abraham were put to rest. This we remember. To build the better, the stronger; finally we have come out from the cave – we shall be the children who went to Alexandria again to learn about high and low, drowning or nobility. Was this ever done before? One work, one tricolored tongue – resting on history and what is history: carnage, a dot of beauty, a soul
– Leonardo – trying to learn to fly prematurely; do not forget that small flower over there, it is known all over Galicia but not in the province of Montreal. I shall – however – tell the bleak street dog that I encoun- tered yesterday that even in the old world, that old vertical world with the vigilant nose on top, it was impossible to erect The Old Tower of Babel (as we know God saw to its destruction). What will happen now – this domain seems almost inhuman: no glue, no bricks, no blue-shim- mering sweat – but ideas, political concepts, so-called migration, noth- ing to eat really for the soft bird in the sky.
3. On Reason
Reason – our uniform victor – rules so that night becomes darker; and reason laughs, ruminating the parliament, uprooting inglorious semi- nars. Forever greed shall infect the green meadows, forever shall those without property havoc in the big formal ocean that separates Vienna from Oran. Surely, this is the town hall of Sønderborg, a summer night, the buzz of youth, their voices all over the place, now that language, now this – and this, not the multivalent tones rising like a ziggurat but the rigid gentleman – ah: reason has come to this town also.
We ask him, why of all places do you come to this town afar?
Some sort of lord he answers sternly: maybe one day you shall keep the meadow green and lush; history – it is almost in vain… And finally, who can overcome an ocean, what sort of digestion is this – shadowed by the tiniest ribs, death in the water. So, come with me my children of Slesvig – have reason prevail.
4. Summer voices, some sort of choir
Mutation is possible. And transformation. Reason! we shall not depart with you: our voices are too eager, too agile in this comprehensive harmony; and youth daring. Nor settle for another staggering tower,
a despicable political citadel, which reminds us of framed ghosts; but somehow – after the carnage, song having picked up memory’s advice – our music will nourish the water, though turbulently it foams.