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Archive for the ‘Hanns Heinz Ewers’ Category

I’ve talked about how I’ve been trying to trace the roots or the energetic current of Organic Gnosticism, which is a method of developing the soul based on love relationships between men and women. It seemed to have disappeared around the first millennium because of persecution. It went deep into hiding. Or so I thought.

In thinking about it a little bit more, I remembered a passage that Hanns Heinz Ewers wrote about intoxication and the creation of works of art and I think that passage says a lot and is in fact the missing key that I was looking for.

Basically what they’re talking about is that when the physical body generates excessive energies the soul is created. So the trick is to live life in an excessive way as opposed to living in a denial of life. What’s not really understood is that if you deny yourself all of life’s pleasures and sorrows the stresses on the body are still generating energy. If you inflict pain upon yourself, your body is generating the energy of pain which is then used to create the soul body. If you experience passion and ecstasy the physical body is doing the same thing but with a different kind of energy.

Here is a small quote from Ewers:

“Can the intoxication induced by a narcotic help contribute to the creation of a work of art. I will answer that question. Here it is not only capable of it, but can even under certain conditions spawn completely new works of art. I will prove that it is capable, that it is the law of the artist that the alcohol question only points out.

It is a lot like all the other customs and laws that govern the artist in general. It is certain that an individual’s intelligence determines what he is able to accomplish in the state of ecstasy. It is precisely this state of ecstasy that is important, not whether it is achieved naturally or through the use of narcotics.

If the creator of a magnificent work of art uses natural means to achieve ecstasy, so much the better. But the grandeur of his work is no less if that is not the case. This remains true of most artistic creations. The causes that bring about suitable conditions for artistic ecstasy are not as common as blackberries. The ecstatic inner experiences of every living person come less frequently as the person ages.

The mature person is less capable of inducing an artistic ecstasy through natural means. The youth swims in ecstasy and passion but doesn’t know what to do with it. The mature person knows what to do, but the ecstasy and passion may stay away for months and years at a time. That is the truth behind these old phrases, “The passion of youth, the tranquility of age”; “The average life of the talented artist in youth is passion without skill and in old age, skill without passion and never a completed work of art.”

However, if the intoxication produced by a narcotic is capable of producing a suitable state of ecstasy under certain conditions, why not use it. Because it is not natural? Ice machines produce ice that is just as cold as the ice on frozen ponds.

The value of a great work of art is completely independent of whether it was created out of the ecstasy of a great love, or that of a wine bottle. The real issue is whether this ecstasy remains unconscious or can be brought into consciousness and worked with. Not if it was brought about naturally or artificially.

A creation through intoxication is as difficult to put into words as a creation through the emotions of heartbreak and misery, but both intoxication and strong emotions are capable of vibrating the strings of the artist and perhaps occasionally producing a state of ecstasy. This creation of a state of artistic ecstasy is always accompanied by a physical, thoroughly sober mental state.

The most beautiful state of intoxication is not capable of bringing art out of a person who has none inside to begin with. You can take any person off the street and put him into the most beautiful hashish delirium, and it will never result in the creation of a work of art unless they are painters, sculptors, poets or musicians in the first place.

Such experiments with intoxication will be completely futile. In any case, the habitual use of any narcotic over a long period of time is to be avoided. In most cases, the habitual user finds it increasingly more difficult to achieve the needed condition of ecstasy. This includes the habitual drinker, smoker, morphine user, cocaine user, and hashish user.

Opium alone appears to consistently lead to ecstasy. It is also the only narcotic not intended for artistic creation. Such use leads to only random and unpredictable results, making it the narcotic of choice for pleasure.

Instead, the artistic process of working through intoxication and bringing art into conscious awareness is gained only later, after both the intoxication and the emotions are gone. Short sentences, words and symbols written down while intoxicated are often enough to call up, even years later, the entire sequence of memories and images of the original experience. That is the moment when it can be fashioned into a work of art.

In general, immense treasure lies concealed within the narcotic for the artist. It is an almost untouched land of gold from which the wise and lucky finder can again and again fashion new works of art if they desire.

Admittedly, the resources of intoxication in no way facilitates or helps the conscious work of artistic creation. On the contrary, the subsequent work of the artist is generally much more difficult. Often extremely difficult. In conclusion, the average writer or painter would not be able to fashion these bits and pieces of captured phrases and words into works of art. They would remain cryptic nonsense. The man on the street says art is not work. It is a pleasure. This is the most belittling lie ever invented by the rich, the experts and the great masses who thoughtlessly chatter about it without ever having experienced even a tinge of ecstasy, let alone created a work of art.

This ecstasy is always in agony of suffering, even when in rare cases, the basis of its production was a pleasure. Intoxication is not some miraculous method that will allow anyone to quickly paint, compose or write magnificent works of art. On the contrary, bringing material out from the subconscious into consciousness and fashioning it into art is something that only a person of high intelligence combined with strong talent is capable of.”

Suddenly, it all makes sense. We are talking about excess and if you remember, Aleister Crowley said, “Nothing succeeds like excess!” But there’s an added ingredient here. The added ingredient is a high degree of intelligence and a high degree of natural ability and talent.

Those are not available to a lot of people, but those people who can open their hearts can find it because it’s not that far away. Just open your heart to the joys and the energies and experiences that life has to offer.

Now that is a description of Organic Gnosticism! I think this really summarizes not only the secret of artistic creation but also the secret of the left-hand path, which is to immerse the physical body and to stress the physical body to its limits in order to achieve the development of the soul and its powers.

As opposed to the spiritual right-hand path which is to deny the physical body; to deny everything and dissolve awareness into the void of nothingness. These are two totally different paths.

PS: I’ve started a Facebook discussion group called Organic Gnosticism. Feel free to join if you are interested.

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Passion Flowers
 
They stand on the table,
Creeping around from out of a green vase,
Twisting, rambling, over here, over there,
Pale and wan, like consumptive lips.
Passion flowers!
Like a dying, torturous last gasp,
Like the scream of a drowning boy,
Passion flowers!
And they tremble and perfume,
Painfully and abusively,
Weak and diseased, pathetically coughing,
They tremble and look at me in hesitation,
Half complaining in pain and half vengefully,
Like the sundering eyes of the gallows birds!
—Oh, I know you, pretend flower,
Know you and your entire proud relatives,
I know Genoveva, and poor Heinrich,
Know the suffering fool on the cross
And all the chosen knights
With pale cheeks and gaping maws!
Know all of you! And hate all of you!
—hello, pale flower, voluptuously soft,
Just waft your Nazarene poison here:
I am immune and I grab you
And crinkle and tear tendrils and blossoms,
And with a healthy curse
Throw everything
Out through the window,
Into the dirty, stinking street!
—Passion flowers!

-Hanns Heinz Ewers
translated by Joe Bandel

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Chestnuts
 
“Kathlin Mac Murdoch!
That is my name!”
—and when you hear her say her name,
You feel:
Dissatisfaction!
I bid you,
Look again,
How she spreads her long fingers—
Look again,
How her magnolia lips
Stand open,
While, the moist breath of Satan,
Crawls through her clenched teeth,
Her breath.
And now,
Just watch,
How her slender nostrils
Swell as they suck in—
The power: the witch
Lustfully and greedily drinks in
The phallus scent
Of the chestnut blossoms.
 
—Yes, I tell you, friend:
Kathlin Mac Murdoch,
Who rushes through a love hungry world,
Serves Aphrodite and kisses Sappho,
Who makes love through sodomy—
Kathlin Mac Murdoch,
Who at Satan’s mass
Was the priestess—
—Philopygos!
—she—
Sucks the scent—
Out of flowers—!
Watch!
Unmoving she sits at the window,
And unmoving
Outside stands the giant,
The chestnut tree—
Wide, proud, unmoving
He stretches his strong limbs out,
Each of which
Bears blooming sacrificial candles.
 
Outrageously then you hear:
That woman there,
Kathlin Mac Murdoch,
Make love to these flowers!
 
Suck the scent in—yourself!
What do you smell?
—do you sense it now?
It is the eternally victorious scent,
The wild scent,
The one, world building scent
From the original source of the phallus!
There she sits
Kathlin Mac Murdoch,
Surrounded by the rain,
That is life to her—
 
There she sits and sucks in
With all her pores
This delightful breath of a man,
She, a female, a female,
All sex
From her head to her feet!
Bend down, if you are an artist!
Here you can sense
The strange breath of this terrible flame,
That singed Salome and burned Salammbȏ:
—dissatisfaction!

-Hanns Heinz Ewers
translated by Joe Bandel

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It is widely understood that H. H. Ewers thought of himself as a Satanist. However, there is a fine distinction that must be noted right here at the beginning. There are two types of duality, one where both powers oppose each other (good vs. evil) and one where both forces are drawn together as an act of love and completion (male/ female; yin/yang). Hanns Heinz Ewers shows us the way out of this nightmare. It is by bringing the unconscious into conscious awareness and not reverting back to a point of no awareness at all! What does Ewers have to say on this topic?

“It is solidly established in deepest human nature that all things new and unfamiliar are uncomfortable, while persistence along all accustomed paths brings happiness! That is why fairy tales are of “The Good Old Times”; the favorite songs of every generation sing of the morals and customs of our fathers’ and we find our poetic ideal in “Golden Antiquity”!
That is also why we hear the eternal complaint by the citizen of the “Loss of morals”, especially those morals of his own time, the genuinely coarse, “What is the world coming to?” This is the ancient song of the “decadence” of modern times compared with the glorious past!

Even with the simplest recognition it can be grasped that the path of humanity, despite individual rough spots is constantly leading upward, can be grasped how much higher we stand than our ancestors and even how much higher still our descendants will stand than us!

In the end this steadfast movement again and again overcomes the costly law of human inertia. —

But the past always appears as the victor, as the highest happiness! Back to the earliest beginning of all emotions, back to the point where a living creature had no conscious awareness of itself, could not make the distinction between itself and the exterior world. The achievement of this condition is the final atavism that there is, that which the mystical ecstatic calls, “Merged in God”, yes, to rest in the “Godhead”. It is the final culmination of all wisdom.—

Therefore it is entirely logical that those who hold this condition of ecstasy as the “highest happiness” should not forget that this “highest” is in fact the origin of everything and the deepest of everything, that fairy tales of the “Good Old Times” are the most grandiose as well as the most beautiful lies that humanity knows.

I take a different position—in my book, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, an attempt is made to follow this path of thought to it last particular.”

-Music in Images

Here is a simple statement in his belief that humanity is progressing despite its own intrinsic impulse to revert backwards to old atavisms. Here it seems that he is against this backward return to the base instincts. He takes a different position from that which most people associate with duality! For him, duality is a movement forward, an evolutionary leap, and not a regression.

“Like man himself! In the beginning man was with God and part of the indivisible All, and he tore himself loose in spite of it. From this awareness of self over the course of billions of years there developed an awareness of the contradiction, “I”—and the world! And yet a part of the All clung to this “I”, was still imprisoned in this physical body, grew with it, died with it and was inseparable from its earthly remains.

And a great desire for liberation caused this soul to seek a false path and grope in the shameful darkness. It always ran back by the way which it had come to its original awareness of the “I” instead of to the “Not—I”, and did not know that the goal was at the other end.

The soul was conscious of the contradiction between the “I” and the “Not—I”, but the soul accepted the physical body as part of the “I”, even as the “I” itself did, and did not realize that the physical body was only a part of the “Not—I”. Thus man’s physical body became the unfortunate bridge that always led the soul back to the physical world of which it was a part. And all those souls driven by desire passed over it and descended deeper and deeper until they sank into God.

Yet how comical it was when the pious cried out that one must conquer the body! Their words were so wise, yet their understanding was so wrong. They did not conquer the body—but rather strengthened its power by all they did. They conquered the soul of man and became as beasts; they conquered the beasts inside and became as God.

But the time must come for the striding forth of the liberated human being. When the knowledge becomes so deep and so firmly rooted that each one knows his body is nothing other than some tree that stands in the forest, than some bird that flies in the air: than any foreign object that lies far in the distance! When each passionately feels that his body has nothing in common with his soul—and is as alien to him as a stone in the street , when the assurance reaches each consciousness that the external world may be all-embracing, yet, it fails to hold one thing, namely, the soul—then that great day will dawn—

Then the soul of man will tend the body well, like a temple, like a good house in which one dwells. Only, it will be a stranger, something external from us, and this knowledge alone will be the great conquest of the body. Then the bridge that leads downward will be broken; then the lunacy of our forefathers will perish; then the eternal desires will laugh happily as they kiss freedom and truth amidst their tears over the dark errors of the ages.”

-The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The false path is the one that runs in shameful darkness, the one that leads back into the physical world. It is even more plainly stated here. This is an affirmation of the soul and of the spirit, a soul and spirit that exist in all things as described below.

“—Things have souls. All of them—just like people, flowers, animals, stones, paintings and books, houses, the table and chairs. They all have a soul—have color and aroma—the stars and the oceans, even nails, umbrellas, rings—waste paper baskets. And it often happens that the souls of these things reveal themselves in their connection with humans. Some chemical attraction brings them to us, a vapor perhaps, an aroma. Or an atmospheric resonance, a harmonic wave motion that radiates from it. There is something.

The thing doesn’t know what it is—no one knows what it is—today. But someday man will know. We will know what it is that attracts one human to another, what creates revulsion or attraction—love or hate. The thing—that man calls the soul.

Or its expression—it’s out flowing. The Indians have called it Shakti for many thousands of years. They give it such high regard that it was thought to be an entity in itself, the one that created everything in the seven worlds. Shiva created nothing, he was the destroyer—everything was created through the divine Durga, the Goddess Shakti.

Was it any different with Jehovah, the great monotheistic God of the Jews? He didn’t go to Mary when he wanted to give a redeemer to the world—he sent his Shakti, his soul, the Holy Spirit.

And the Greeks saw so many souls in things. There were living Shakti in the stars and the winds, in the oceans and the meadows, in the fire, the air, in stones and trees. There were dryads, nymphs, and niads— just like the elves, pixies, fairies and wood elves of Nordic mythology.

Everything was alive—breathing souls were everywhere. That was the visible world. And the great God that destroyed them, the God from Nazareth, the God of everything invisible, did not have the power to entirely exterminate them. The Christian Church did not deny the souls that were in things—it just called them demons. The spirit of evil became—the devil. The colors of the flowers were damned by Saint Hieronymus—as one of Satan’s alluring enticements.”

-Vampire

From this passage we see that Ewers believes in a type of pantheism where souls and spirits inhabit physical things. A high grade of spirituality is seen that moves through all of his writings.

“The Christian sciences stumbled miserably through the centuries in metaphysical lead boots, and were even more pious than the Church. They smashed everything that had life in the outer world and allowed poor humanity to grope around in a dark, deathly cold swamp. They believed that their dominion by slaughter had led them to a great victory when they finally displaced the devil—and held Luther in even higher regard.

Then it occurred to them; that must fall as well—the popular idea now was:
No light without darkness; no “yes” without a “no”; No God was possible without a Devil.
And also, No ‘I’ could exist—without an external world. No soul could exist in the ‘I’ without there being a soul in all other things as well.

Light came once more into the world. Colors grew and resounded. It was believed that souls searched for each other. Sometimes they found each other—but had become like strangers.”

-Vampire

Here we see even more clearly how the forces of duality need each other, work together to create the beauty that is life. They are not eternally at war with each other as described in the “Synagogue of Satan”. What is described is not “good and evil” but “light and dark”.

While little is known about the Antient and Primitive Rite, much is known about Albert Pike’s “Scottish Rite” and it does reflect the union or balance of light and dark in its higher degrees, such as the “Prince of the Sun” degree. These high degrees remind one very much of Aleister Crowley and his statement, “How can something be true if its opposite is not true as well?” In addition both Dion Fortune of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley maintained that the soul must travel both paths, the path of the mystic and the path of magick. The path of the mystic goes up into the spiritual light and the path of the magician goes down into the dark powers of the earth. So once more the question is whether HHE chose a path of duality that was an integration of the light and the dark or one where they were fundamentally opposed.

Perhaps there was a little of both? In the short story “The Death of Baron Jesus Maria von Freidel” the Baron struggles between two personalities that cohabit his body. One is male and the other is female and they are both trying to kill each other. In “Fundvogel” the main character is a female and undergoes a sex change operation to become a male. The idea of having both male and female aspects within the human psyche was very prevalent in Ewers day. Alchemists called it the “Alchemical Marriage” the union of the higher self and the lower self. Carl Jung, an early student of Sigmund Freud developed his theories of the anima and animus. Magicians tried to become hermaphrodites, half male and half female. All of these viewpoints hint at integrating the dual aspects of male and female from a psychological point of view.

“It’s true; the artist has it right. Somehow we live on in our children many generations after our death. As women with emotions and sorrow we carry and give birth under miserable torment but with each birth we rise from the dead and as men later fertilize our great-grandchildren. Then once more blossoms our first thought drawn from a chorus in a distant land and we first become aware of our groping feet and once more cast our wavering seed upon the rocks.

Something lives on and perhaps the best. Many things die- and perhaps the best. Who is to know? Everything dies and what does not die is kept safely in memory. What is forgotten is entirely dead, not that which dies. People are beginning to grasp that it is not the remembering of the past that is good but the forgetting. Remembering is foolishness, an illness, and a disgusting pestilence that chokes out the new life. We do not want to constantly look back in honor of our fathers and mothers but more deeply separate from them because we are more than they are and greater than they are!

We want to tear down yesterday because we know that today we are alive and that our today is a much better one. That is our strong belief and it is so strong that we do not even think about it. We don’t consider that our great today- tomorrow will be a pathetic yesterday only fit for the rubbish heap.

It is an eternal war with eternal defeat if we do not gain victory over our ancestral memories. We are slaves to the ideas of our forefathers. We spend our lives tormenting ourselves in their chains, suffocating in the restrictive fortress that our forefathers have created. We need to build a bigger house. When we are dead it will be worn out as well and our grandchildren will lie in the chains that we have created.

But if that is the truth then what is it that I have now discovered? Am I today at the same time my father, my forefathers and myself? If what my brain carries does not die but lives on in my children and grandchildren how can the eternal revolution ever become reconciled?”
-The Blue Indians

This is a powerful statement and is there any more clear way of saying that we need to look toward the future and not to the past? To destroy existing structures so that new and better ones might be built upon the ashes, this is more than a call to anarchy; it is the sacred call of every new generation and some day our world will become obsolete as well.

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White Dog Roses

Behind the monastery lies a garden,
That belongs to the old, noble family
Of Capri,  to Nikola Vuoto.
 
And you must go through his garden,
If you want to get to the Saracen tower,
The Marelatto, that clings to the side of a cliff.
 
But if you are careful, stranger, you can climb up
On a steep goat path that leads down to the sea:
And throw heavy stones at Vuoto.
 
Be careful as well in the rock tower,
If you step on the wrong flagstone,
You will plummet down into the blue waves.
 
—Until you are there take off your shoes, stranger,
Lay your stockings aside and take your knife,
Scratch your soles and heals,
 
So that the blood lightly oozes:
The blood will cling to your feet
And to the smooth stones of the Castiglione.
 
You only need to climb a little higher
And you will see growing on the steep cliff walls
A bush of white dog roses.
 
Stick to it, stranger, look only at the roses,
Don’t cast one look down below,
Where the blue sea temptingly cavorts,
 
Where many blonde German youth have already
Dashed out their brains on the salty rocks,
Mixing red blood with deep blue.
 
—Oh, I lift my clear headed gaze,
To greet the sun in the sea, rejoicing,
Rejoicing, as I pluck my white roses!
II
 
If you climb up a few steps from the piazza,
You can see Santa Teresa,
The palace of Bourbon times.
 
Just ask there for the Signore,
And they will lead you into a cool hall,
Everyone knows the invalid Herrn of the Villa.
 
In earlier days he rode on fast horses,
A leader of one of the lusty dragoons
That rushed charging through the fields of France.
 
In earlier times he fought well with a sharp saber,
Which he waved in front of his squadron
Of Italians, giving the order to attack—
 
But today he goes on his way sedately,
In the most beautiful place on this beautiful earth,
Living for his art and for his dreams.
 
Stranger, if you see his pale cheeks,
Greet him from a German poet,
Whom he once led through his hall,
 
Who loved the fine features of his head,
His long narrow hands,
And the deep silence of his villa.
III
Slowly I went back to Santa Teresa,
I carried my white dog roses
Into the coolest of its cool halls.
 
I carried water in a polished lava vase,
In the deep silence of this villa
And sat alone with my white roses.
 
Strange!—my dog roses laughed,
In the wondrous deep silence
They chuckled in exalted innocence!
 
But this laugher sounded like crying,
—crying without tears, foolish crying,
Like the sounds of silly children’s songs,
 
Silly songs, like the “Five Barrisons”
Had once sung, at the winter garden
In Berlin in front of witty Berliners.
 
The same way Salome danced in the Pomare:
—for the head of John the Baptist!—
This exalted innocence was cruel!
 
She was cruel, as if even her nerves
Felt the sweet tickle of desire,
Of wanton thirst, this woman of antiquity,
 
Even though no surge of blood
Raced through her thin arms
And no light flickered in her eyes.
 
Her cruelty was white as marble,
White, like her silky baby soft clothing,
White, like my dog roses are!
 
And she shook her alluring little head,
Clasped her hands together, leaped, curtsied,
And her narrow, pale lips smiled:
 
“Daddy wouldn’t buy me a Bow, Wow, Wow,
Daddy wouldn’t buy me a Bow, Wow, Wow.
So I’ve got a little cat
And I’m very fond of that,
But I’d rather have a Bow, Wow, Wow!”
 
—Yes, she sang and her lips smiled,
But her laughter sounded like crying,
Like the crying of my dog roses.
 
Ask, why are you crying?—then the roses laugh.
Through the wondrous deep silence
They chuckle in exalted innocence.
 
Laughter without desire and crying without
Tears.—their song echoes strangely,
Their silly foolish children’s song,
 
Through the cool halls, these thin,
Pale dog roses strangely sway,
In white exalted innocence.
 
—tell me, why are they laughing?

-Hanns Heinz Ewers
translated by Joe Bandel

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Asphodels
 
The two of us walked
Across a meadow,
Annie Ventnor and I,
As we were climbing from
Mitromania up to Arco,
She had to rest there,
This slender English beauty,
She was thirty-four, hysterical
And badly, badly asthmatic.
Then we went up further
To Monte Tiberio
And then the two of us walked
Across a meadow of asphodels,
Lady Ventnor and I.
 
We walked over the meadow,
Walked toward the sea,
That surged deep below us,
Walked toward the sun,
The evening sun,
That was sinking there
Far behind Mallorca.
And we walked toward death,
Who had planted every where
His sacred perennial plants,
Asphodel plants,
—walked without speaking,
Silently toward death,
Annie Ventnor and I.
 
The outgoing evening sun
Sank into my eyes,
Sank into Annie Ventnor’s
Brown eyes,
Those tired, sick, pleading eyes.
And we felt:
—That now it might very well be!
Then I lifted her up in my arms
And jumped lightly
Down there,
Into the sea, into the sun,
Into the happiness they held!
A leap, a scream:
—Annie Ventnor and I!
 
And yet I knew:
That this evening
I would be down below
Sitting with the officers,
Would be playing Fly and Poker
And would be drinking absinthe,
Singing to the mandolin.
And would be laughing and
Dancing the tarantella
With the prostitutes—
 
And I also knew:
—This same Lady Annie Ventnor
Would be leaving for Naples
In the morning
To her lover.
He was a commissionaire
At the great
Clearing house of Mele,
And was an ugly Moor,
A dirty, stupid, ugly Moor,
That laughed over his hysterical
Countess . . .
And for new embraces
Always give her more
New, beautiful money.
 
I knew all that.
—And still the two of us walked,
Annie Ventnor and I,
In wonderful, Corinthian silence
Over asphodel meadows . . .

-Hanns Heinz Ewers
translated by Joe Bandel

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Chrysanthemums

Katie, who reads my songs,
Wants me to write about chrysanthemums.
Chrysanthemums—
The flowers that Katie loves.
So now she stands before me at the writing desk,
And I put my head in my hands and search, search
For the soul of this flower—
And I think:
Yes—two images come to me,
That can put me on the track—
One: the delicate, sensitive Frenchman,
Pierre Loti visualized it and painted it
In the foggy tones of “The Boys of Glasgow”,
And hidden in a painting by Whistler,
He called his vision—“Madame Chrysanthemum”.
Yet these flowers speak differently to me,
Still, I can’t find their soft tones
And their voices—
Let me search further—
And the other image?
In my mother’s house, on one floor
In a brilliant white area is a
Black framed sketch of the Madonna,
The one sitting—and on both sides,
Are two small end tables,
Which hold large, gray vases.
But mother always puts chrysanthemums
In the vases,
Chrysanthemums, and only chrysanthemums.
Why only chrysanthemums?
No, red Mallows should be there,
Red, white and violet mallows!
And I search for the soul of this flower,
And can’t find a trace of it anywhere.
I have to ask Katie!
“Katie! Katie!”
Katie comes and rocks in the chair!
“Oh, you big fool!—you muse, muse,
Meditate and think—and my lovely flower
Says nothing to you?”
Then listen: “The coquette shepherd girls
From Trianon, at the festival
Carried colored chrysanthemums on their staffs—
And at the ball Katie laughs and dances,
And on her white shoulders laughs
Colored chrysanthemums.
Fluttering soft petals, like those of the
Colorful shepherd girls, that play in the wind,
That forget all troubles and sorrows.
And the short hours of sweet embrace,
That delight the poor senses!
You see—that—is everything!”
And I kneel:
“Katie, let me kiss your shoulders,
On your shoulders I kiss your flowers,
Soft chrysanthemums:—Katharina!”

-Hanns Heinz Ewers
translated by Joe Bandel

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