In 1915, following Trakl’s death, Rilke wrote to Ficker about his late contemporary’s work: He foresees ‘a people’s gloomy wrath’ unleashing ‘the scarlet wave of battle’ to crush the ‘shattered brow’ of ‘dying soldiers’. On 27 October, he dispatched two poems to Ficker, ‘Lament’ and ‘Grodek’. Yet these did not gain Trakl the attention he deserves. At first, I worked a great deal . Many aspects of Trakl’s biography point to chronic maladjustment. Stillmark’s rendering of the poems from this phase, such as ‘Three Glances into an Opal’, is sinuous and well-sustained, but Trakl’s clotted imagery seems theatrical when transplanted into English. Trakl’s reticence about cocaine is consistent with a broader pattern in his poetic treatment of intoxicants. He is perhaps best known for his poem "Grodek", which he wrote shortly before he died of a cocaine overdose. Trakl was a precocious poet: he began writing when he was at school, producing his earliest verse at 17. In the autumn Wittgenstein was serving on the Eastern Front and tried to meet his protégé, but reached the hospital in Cracow where Trakl was under psychiatric observation just too late. Unless otherwise stated, our essays are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. His first and only non-posthumously-published literary work, Gedichte (Poems), was first printed in 1913. Books link through to Amazon who will give us a small percentage of sale price (ca. He borrows the device from Karl Ammer, who used it to render ‘il y a’ in a passage from Rimbaud’s ‘Enfance’ which reverberates throughout Trakl’s work: Il y a une horloge qui ne sonne pas. The Editor Trakl had died at the age of 27 of a cocaine overdose, a response to the Battle of Grodek. Whereas recreational use had previously been restricted mostly to major urban centres, the war made cocaine relatively easy to obtain in places as remote, for example, as the Galician countryside to which Trakl’s unit was posted, or for that matter the small Russian village in which Mikhail Bulgakov’s story “Morphine” is set (“Morphine” tells the story of a young doctor who unsuccessfully attempts to cure his morphine addiction by replacing morphine with cocaine and is based on Bulgakov’s own experience of the years 1917-18 in the province of Smolensk). Stillmark’s decision to omit Trakl’s rhymes has its drawbacks, but it enables him to be all the more attentive to vocabulary, register and syntax. After the carnage at Grodek, he was left alone to tend the wounded in an overcrowded barn when one of them blew his brains out against the wall. Out of brown illumined churches Gaze pure images of death, Lovely scutcheons of great princes. The lines “A heart / Turns rigid in snowy stillness” occur in the poem “Limbo”, written in spring 1914, just a few months before his departure for the eastern front, while the poem “The Heart”, which dates to the same period, opens with the line “A wild heart turned white by the wood” and closes with “O heart / Shimmering across into snowy coolness”. On each Collections post we’ve done our best to indicate which rights we think apply, so please do check and look into more detail where necessary, before reusing. ", an illustration by F.S. Trakl trained as a pharmacist at the University of Vienna (1908–10). In his mature poems, Trakl’s language is rich in non-negotiable ambiguities. Despairing of his ability to help the overwhelming number of wounded men, he tried to kill himself. Advert for Hall's Coca Wine: The Elixir of Life, an early product that used cocaine as an ingredient, ca. This jagged style, often resembling montage, suppresses the lyric impulse, foregrounding instead the poet’s pity at the horror of the world. Like the Polish Modernist Witkacy, who signed many paintings not with his own initials but with those of the drugs he had consumed while producing them, poets of the post-Romantic age might sometimes choose to insert factual or fictional records of self-medication into their works as tools of self-stylization, but there is no expectation for them to do so. A possibly incestuous liaison with his sister, for which the evidence is slim, although his verse seems to admit their guilt, is about the only other significant detail known about this shy, driven, taciturn poet, who identified with the outcast Kaspar Hauser, and in ‘Trübsinn’ (‘Melancholy’ – a poem unaccountably omitted by Stillmark) lamented his destiny: ‘In the evening again above my head,/Saturn mutely steers my dreadful fate.’. He took his first steps along this path immediately after leaving school in autumn 1905, starting with a three-year apprenticeship at a local chemist’s shop in his native Salzburg, followed by two years of pharmacy study in the imperial capital Vienna. Il y a une cathédrale qui descend et un lac qui monte. Moreover, it should be remembered that for a confirmed landscape poet such as Trakl, the primary referent of a word such as “snow” will always be “snow” in the literal, meteorological sense. This poem has not been translated into any other language yet. With the inclusion of drama fragments and selected letters, this is the most complete collection of Trakl's work to date in English. Thirty years on, ‘Helian’ provided Celan with a model for his own threnody, the Death Fugue. Yet silently red clouds, in which a wrathful god lives, Gather on willow-ground The blood that was shed, moon-coolness; All roads flow into black decay. Unlike Wittgenstein and Rilke, however, Kraus knew Trakl personally, even having holidayed with him for ten days in Venice in August 1913, and when he expressed amazement at the poet’s ability to “live at all”, he was probably thinking less of his poetry than of his personality. His rendering of the Keatsian opulence of the opening of ‘Helian’ works by understating the original: In solitary hours of the mind It is lovely to walk in the sun Passing along the yellow walls of summer.
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