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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger
This poem by Novalis works as a powerful meditation on death and loss and restoration within the Christian tradition. Notice how in several sections of the poem Novalis draws in key elements from the Christain Gospels and claims them in a personal way, claims them for everyone, rather than viewing them as part of some remote historical past. For example, the first verse transforms the story of Christ's entombment and resurrection into a universal experience available to everyone:
Uplifted is the stone --
And all mankind is risen --
This gives us a mystical understanding linking the Easter resurrection with the Christian notion of the Day of Judgment as the point when every individual becomes an embodiment the great drama of the death which leads to rebirth into spiritual life. This is not the vision of a catastrophic historical event so favored by fundamentalist Christians today; it is the image of a universal awakening -- which, I would suggest, is much closer to the core of Christian truth.
I especially like the final two verses. Not only do they give us lovely, uplifting imagery, but there seems to be genuine mystical insight... the senses transfigured through an inner fire, a golden "wine" from above, losing the sense of separation, sacred bliss, witnessing God in a sun-like radiance:
Have courage, for life is striding
To endless life along;
Stretched by inner fire,
Our sense becomes transfigured.
One day the stars above
Shall flow in golden wine,
We will enjoy it all,
And as stars we will shine.
The love is given freely,
And Separation is no more.
The whole life heaves and surges
Like a sea without a shore.
Just one night of bliss --
One everlasting poem --
And the sun we all share
Is the face of God.
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2002 - 2011 by Ivan M. Granger.
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