Freitag, 18. April 2014


The Way of Pain

For parents, the only way
is hard. We who give life
give pain. There is no help.
Yet we who give pain
give love; by pain we learn
the extremity of love.

I read of Abraham's sacrifice
the Voice required of him,
so that he led to the altar
and the knife his only son.
The beloved life was spared
that time, but not the pain.
It was the pain that was required.

I read of Christ crucified,
the only begotten Son
sacrificed to flesh and time
and all our woe. He died
and rose, but who does not tremble
for his pain, his loneliness,
and the darkness of the sixth hour?
Unless we grieve like Mary
at His grave, giving Him up
as lost, no Easter morning comes.

And then I slept, and dreamed
the life of my only son
was required of me, and I
must bring him to the edge
of pain, not knowing why.
I woke, and yet that pain
was true. It brought his life
to the full in me. I bore him
suffering, with love like the sun,
too bright, unsparing, whole.

Als Wendell Berry, der dieses Gedicht in den achtziger Jahren schrieb, in Stanford bei Wallace Stegner studierte, hießen seine Mitstudenten Edward Abbey, Larry McMurtryErnest Gaines und Ken Kesey. Jeder von ihnen ist seinen eigenen Weg gegangen. Sie alle haben die amerikanische Kultur geprägt. Ken Kesey hat One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest geschrieben, Edward Abbey hat für die Umwelt gekämpft und Larry McMurtry hat die unendliche Geschichte des Wilden Westens weitergeschrieben. Außer Wendell Berry ist keiner von ihnen ein christlicher Dichter geworden. Larry McMurtry und Ken Kesey haben in diesem Blog schon einen Post, Edward Abbey wird in McCool und Spätwestern erwähnt.

Der Mitstudent, der dem Dichter, Farmer und Umweltaktivisten Wendell Berry gedanklich vielleicht am nächsten steht, ist Edward Abbey. Über den hat Berry einmal gesagt: But the quality in him that I most prize, the one that removes him from the company of the writers I respect and puts him in the smaller company of the writers I love, is that he sees the gravity, the great danger, of the predicament we are now in, he tells it unswervingly, and he defends unflinchingly the heritage and the qualities that may preserve us. I read him, that is to say, for consolation, for the comfort of being told the truth. There is no longer any honest way to deny that a way of living that our leaders continue to praise is destroying all that our country is and all the best that it means. We are living even now among punishments and ruins. For those who know this, Edward Abbey's books will remain an indispensable solace. His essays, and his novels too, are"antidotes to despair." For those who think that a few more laws will enable us to go on safely as we are going, he will remain—and good for him!—a pain in the neck.

Edward Abbey hatte seine eigene Religion, die aus der Natur gewonnen war. Darin ähnelt er dem ersten Westernhelden Amerikas, James Fenimore Coopers Natty Bumppo, den wir den Lederstrumpf zu nennen pflegen. Der ist der American Adam in einem American Paradise. Ein Paradies, das Cooper, der erste ökologisch bewusste Schriftsteller Amerikas, schon bedroht sieht, als er seine Leatherstocking Novels schreibt. Wenige amerikanische Schriftsteller haben das Erbe von Cooper bewahrt. Ich weiß nicht, ob Thoreau mit seinem Buch Walden wirklich ein Erbe Coopers war.

Thoreau hat eins mit der Natur einsam im Wald gelebt, O.K:  I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursionAber es war keine echte Einsamkeit, ein Spaziergang von einer Viertelstunde brachte ihn ins nächste Dorf. Soll ich noch erwähnen, dass er mal aus Unachtsamkeit einen ganzen Wald angezündet und nicht bei den Löscharbeiten geholfen hat?

Da Wendell Berry hierzulande nicht so bekannt geworden ist, hätte ich noch ein zweites Gedicht von ihm. Es heißt A Speech to the Garden Club of America und wurde im Jahre 2009 im New Yorker veröffentlicht:

Thank you. I’m glad to know we’re friends, of course;
There are so many outcomes that are worse.
But I must add I’m sorry for getting here
By a sustained explosion through the air,
Burning the world in fact to rise much higher
Than we should go. The world may end in fire
As prophesied – our world! We speak of it
As “fuel” while we burn it in our fit
Of temporary progress, digging up
An antique dark-held luster to corrupt
The present light with smokes and smudges, poison
To outlast time and shatter comprehension.
Burning the world to live in it is wrong,
As wrong as to make war to get along
And be at peace, to falsify the land
By sciences of greed, or by demand
For food that’s fast or cheap to falsify
The body’s health and pleasure – don’t ask why.
But why not play it cool? Why not survive
By Nature’s laws that still keep us alive?
Let us enlighten, then, our earthly burdens
By going back to school, this time in gardens
That burn no hotter than the summer day.
By birth and growth, ripeness, death and decay,
By goods that blind us to all living things,
Life of our life, the garden lives and sings.
The wheel of Life, delight, the fact of wonder,
Contemporary light, work, sweat, and hunger
Bring food to table, food to cellar shelves.
A creature of the surface, like ourselves,
The garden lives by the immortal Wheel
That turns in place, year after year, to heal
It whole. Unlike our economic pyre
That draws from ancient rock a fossil fire,
An anti-life of radiance and fume
That burns as power and remains as doom,
The garden delves no deeper than its roots
And lifts no higher than its leaves and fruits.

Lesen Sie auch: Karfreitag (2010), (2011), (2012). Im letzten Jahr habe ich den Karfreitag nicht vergessen, da stand hier Kuckucksnest, und das hatte schon seinen Grund.

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