Christina Metaxa

Aretē

after Rilke

Who If I cried out would hear me among the angel’s hierarchies?  

Me— and I will take you in against my heart

And you shall not be overwhelmed by your existence.

 

I will take you in at night; to fie the possibility that other Things may notice us, as we

Have noticed them, in daytime beauty

       for beauty is the beginning of terror—

                                                    —which we are still just able to endure.

 

Don’t fret or fool yourself so close to lethe as the holy spirits

have become to God.         It is your choice to fight the stillness of an Angel

                                                                                                                  terrifying

not to let the Angel terrifying take-you-so-close to God that

you may lose your tongue, in such a harmony with nature that the tree no longer hears

you[                                        reign, into another

form of dying—merciful

                Though you may lose your name in seeking to become.. . Acarnal] Everything conspires

to silences you say half as shame perhaps and half as unspeakable hope[               Oh . Do not speak now

 

as you walk,    So aimlessly do you become aware of guilt, becoming golden

on my breast , and half as shame, perhaps, and half as hope you fall in love

with me ?  Are you in love with me —do not deny the possibility, that, you have

asked yourselves ‘ Perhaps I can be like her”…]

 

Have you the language though alas    to reproduce me?  that you may lose your tongue Perhaps,you may. It is my voice of German; freed[…]from the beloved and, quivering, endured: as the arrow endures the bowstring’s tension, so that gathered in the snap of release it can be more than itself     only in death does one remain   for there is no place where we can remainonly in death—

does one remain forever ending, as an arrow long-released from heaven child. And on towards eternity. 

Listen to me. ..[    as birds have listened , to the passing of the sea when they have flown so low they have

forgotten it was them— passing, not the sea— listen to me.. .for this, must be the purpose of your solitude—                 To live a life

 

forever moving through the stifling light. And all along to carry, and conspire the silences

                                                                                                            of patience,

                                                                                                            prudence,

                                                                                                        and necessity.

 

                                                                                    That you may come to see, little

by little that the power that released you held no power less, than you, no power less than

wind and matter altering the course of your direction power less than

aim, remaining always at the end of ending.                                       With a touch of fault, and cherrywine—

            that you may always blame me  

            drunken, only.  

 

What they want of me is that I gently remove the appearance of injustice about their death .

What they want of me is that I gently remove the appearance of injustice about their death— I am in

 

Love with you.

but Death.. .full of eternity , in eros with the memory, of child, and the infernal emblem

wild in the illusion of a past— translucence, when the angels lay unhidden in a mest of gold , and touching

aimlessly We called the passion yearning

 

through the break of day[they say Angels, they say,  don’t know whether it is the living they are moving

among, or the dead.                       Angels, they say, don’t know whether it is the living they are moving

among, or the dead. 

                                                and do not let, you elegy reduce to waste—

Make haste to your disaster so that of it only

will you cluster memories of darkness           past, and light consumed

in the explosion           only. A

        remembrance. 

 

                        Of the final birth?

           

            No, of the death, of birth as: Aretē.    For this is

Where you find me, chosen one.                     In the suspended spaces,

Lingering between the excess                of your wrong, the

                                    Lack                                 of your morality and

                                                           You

 

  ]so frail in my reflection on/in the water. passing.

 

What is passing first? And where does it remain? Beloved.. .[ ?

 

                                  You must only choose with words  have you the language though

       to reproduce me       as you were chosen once, to have

 

a Name that passes your existence.

 

[And being dead and being dead     is hard work is hard work   and full of retrieval and full of retrieval    

            before one can gradually feel a trace of eternity.

                      before one can gradually feel a trace of eternity.

ARETĒ.

   aretē

Arete

aretē.—— δεν είναι να φιλάς τα χέρια των Αγγέλων, ακατάπαυστα      .μέχρι να γίνει το πρωί, αιώνας. Αρετή...είναι να τραγουδάς, με την ψυχή στο στόμα για τα χρόνια που θα ρθούν  τα άσωτα, μεστά από παιδία με στεμματα ... και κόκκινα μαλλιά

 να στάζουν τραγωδίες. Και μετα.. . που οσαν πια δε θα γλιτώσει Άγγελος        με χερια καθαρά, θαμε ρωτήσεις, άξιε,    ξανα:[1]

                                                “Could we exist, without them?”

                        [2]και με βλέφαρα κλειστά , θα σου το ψιθυρίσω.... . .

                                    «Ναι.

                                    Yes”.

 

[1] Aretē— is not kissing angel’s hands, incessantly                until the morning

becomes a century. Aretē.. is singing, with your soul in your mouth, of the years to come, the prodigals, the full of children crowned …with red hair

 dripping tragedies. And then.. . when not a single Angel will be spared                                with clear hands again, …, you shall ask me: 

 

[2] And with eyelids closed, will I whisper to you… . .

 

CHRISTINA METAXA was born Limassol, Cyprus in 1992, and has lived there ever

since. In 2009 she published her first storybook in Greek—Φιδάκης Αμυαλάκης,

Snakey NoBrain-key— and is currently working on the completion of a poetry

collection as part of her senior thesis. Christina is studying Literary Arts and French

Studies at Brown University and likes to think that a choice is never harder than the

heart allows.