The Man in the Depths (The Question)

Dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven

First there was a sound that pierced me

and hit me deep inside and shattered there

into a thousand pieces of a lament,

into a question that vibrated inside me.

And in the shadows I wandered a long time,

back through no hour and into no space,

where sounds float in the depths,

dissolve and stay --

What is music?

And at the very bottom stood a man,

beside a window, his back turned on me,

and looked out of his dungeon,

into the darkness that coagulated there.

And did not hear my light steps

and was not aware of my question:

Around him was silence, a great centre,

and no request and no loss.

And turned around and looked at me:

his gaze unsteady, his features heavily wrinkled.

I was struck by damnation and enchantment,

and his answer went right through me:

Music is never from the outside;

it is within you, an unquenchable spring,

that ever flows, becoming more and more,

and rages and drowns you --

music is rage.

And is what flares up and falls like ashes,

what tortures you and cries deep inside you,

what stuns you, disfigures you and takes from you your words:

music is pain.

So he spoke out of his Neverland,

and silent sounds formed his face.

And something bright came into his gaze

that I understood. We are akin.

music is light.

Crystal 4.11.2001

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