What is it?

Was es ist — What it is

– a poem by Erich Fried (See below the poem in german language)

Andreas Cellarius: Harmonia Macrocosmica, Plate 13: The hemisphere of the old world circle, including its zones and circles as well as the areas of the various inhabitants, 1660 

Yesterday taking up on this: an attempt to formulate an Ode of Life, after a brief meeting at the academy in the morning, then while we had been waiting for Daniel and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, amidst the Salzburgian Schickeria.

Why this urge to write, rewrite Fried’s poem? Was it because I receive  right now a message from Tobias, stating

Listening to Parsifal in Bayreuth I was getting aware of so many things. It has such a beautiful message: every ritual, religion and ideology – every togetherness of people – can only exit on the foundation of pity and love … this is Parsifal’s experience … — and the music … …

Is it the the impression from the program brochure which I received in advance? – It says

In Coleman’s Looking for Palestine, Said’s words are sung by a solo soprano, but the large orchestral forces also give voices to thoughts and feelings possibly too deep for words. Along with the familiar woodwind, brass and strings is a large percussion section, including a lithophone (pieces of rock suspended and struck to produce half-defined notes). And, in addition to the harps and piano, Coleman makes prominent use of an old, the Arab ‘king of instruments’, lute-like in appearance, but usually played with wide vibrato and decorative slides in a quite distinct way. It is the old that opens and nearly closes Looking for Palestine, though the last sounds we actually hear are the dry, skeletal stabs of lithophone and high violins. Between these poignantly atmospheric frames, the soprano tells her story, at first in long, keening melodic phrases, nut approaching the more urgent patterns of speech as the story builds to its climax, culminating in anguished, repeated cries. It is anguish that knows no allegiance, takes no position, but one that any human being reduced to extremity by life’s senseless cruelty can share. (Stephen Johnson: Cries and Hymns)

Or is it yesterday’s work on Phanresia – the beginning of the recording of volume 1, the continuation of writing volume 4?

Or perhaps the mentioned snobbery – the need of living some reasonably real  life in the persisting wrong wrong one …?

Andreas Cellarius: Harmonia Macrocosmica, Plate 14: the established, ptolemaic hypothesis, as it presents the movement of the planet with its excentres and epicycles, 1660

An attempt …

What it is?

It’s nonsense

ratio says

But not only that

says life

It is lack of fortune

says the calculating mind

And nothing than pain

adds fear


supposes the insight

But worthwhile to be lived … the voice comes from no-everywhere

Ridiculous, isn’t it?

pride thinks so


knows care

Impossible after all

experience wants to have the last word

But that is what it is

says life – despite of it, and only if it is lived as such …


Was es ist

Es ist Unsinn

sagt die Vernunft

Es ist was es ist

sagt die Liebe

Es ist Unglück

sagt die Berechnung

Es ist nichts als Schmerz

sagt die Angst

Es ist aussichtslos

sagt die Einsicht

Es ist was es ist

sagt die Liebe

Es ist lächerlich

sagt der Stolz

Es ist leichtsinnig

sagt die Vorsicht

Es ist unmöglich

sagt die Erfahrung

Es ist was es ist

sagt die Liebe

Erich Fried


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