melting & burning


Ralph Barton’s suicide note
August 17, 2014, 10:25 pm
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Everyone who has known me and who hears of this will have a different hypothesis to offer to explain why I did it. Practically all of these hypothesis will be dramatic—and completely wrong. Any sane doctor knows that the reasons for suicide are invariably psychopathological. Difficulties in life merely precipitate the event—and the true suicide type manufactures his own difficulties. I have had few real difficulties. I have had, on the contrary, and exceptionally glamorous life—as lives go. And I have had more than my share of affection and appreciation. The most charming, intelligent, and important people I have known have liked me—and the list of my enemies is very flattering to me. I have always had excellent health. But, since my childhood, I have suffered with a melancholia which, in the past 5 years, has begun to show definite symptoms of manic-depressive insanity. It has prevented my getting anything like the full value out of my talents, and, for the past three years, has made work a torture to do at all. It has made it impossible for me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life that seem to get other people through. I have run from wife to wife, from house to house, and from country to country, in a ridiculous effort to escape from myself. In doing so, I am very much afraid that I have spread a good deal of unhappiness among the people who have loved me.



The Sonnets to Orpheus XIII – Rilke
April 14, 2012, 9:57 pm
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Be ahead of all parting, as though it already were
behind you, like the winter that has just gone by.
For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter
that only by wintering through it all will your heart survive.

Be forever dead in Eurydice-more gladly arise
into the seamless life proclaimed in your song.
Here, in the realm of decline, among momentary days,
be the crystal cup that shattered even as it rang.

Be-and yet know the great void where all things begin,
the infinite source of your own most intense vibration,
so that, this once, you may give it your perfect assent.

To all that is used-up, and to all the muffled and dumb
creatures in the world’s full reserve, the unsayable sums,
joyfully add yourself, and cancel the count.
Translated by Stephen Mitchell