Friday, April 8, 2016

Du im Voraus -- Rilke translation

By Tracy

This poem is already well-known in English translation, so I am adding my version to the many. It reminds me in some ways of Emily Dickinson's "A Loss of Something Ever Felt I", which David Musselwhite once said to me was the ultimate "lost object" poem.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Du im Voraus

You, my beloved lost in advance, my never-appeared,
I don’t know which notes you prefer.
I no longer try, when what’s coming billows over me,
to recognise you. All the great
images in me, scenery learned at a distance:
towns and spires and bridges and un-
suspected turns in the roads
and the immensity of those countries
once traversed by gods:
grows to its meaning in me,
your meaning, elusive one.

Oh, the gardens you are,
oh, I saw them with such
hope. An open window
in a country house — and you nearly
stepped toward me, thoughtful. Alleys I found —
you had just gone along them,
and sometimes the shopkeepers’ mirrors
were still dizzy with you, and gave out, afraid,
my too-sudden image. — Who knows if the same
bird did not ring out through us
yesterday, separately, in the evening?

                                                    trans. Tracy Ryan

Thursday, April 7, 2016


By Tracy

Windows everywhere. Here is a little poem about windows, specifically Drehkippfenster or tilt-and-turn windows, though the photos show many other kinds. Tilt-and-turn are apparently the most common type of window in Germany


The windows are uncountable
yet plural. On every outdoor
town-view, they dominate – also
singly, from inside, loom over us.
Hold threads under tension, a frame.
Edgy magic, they might unhinge,
fall inward. We tilt them back to air
the room for want of fan or vent,
releasing vapours, our humours.
Out there, commingled.
They gauge the day, admit
street-sound, anonymous.
No veil, this pane, no projection
of hymen, fantastic intactness;
it was always already open.
Not for turning your back on.
Nor for dreaming you live in
another’s life. Rather for keeping
charge like custodia fenestrārum,
alone in a crowd, turning this blind
eye as I hoist or lower the sail.

                                      (Tracy Ryan)

The poem is also engaging indirectly with aspects of the window-ideas in poems by Mallarmé and Baudelaire, as well as the (I think) misguided use of the hymen in de Man and Derrida.

I've also developed an interest (or further developed a very old, long-held interest) in the various kinds of dormer windows, some of which you can see in these photos.

"Custodia fenestrārum" in the poem is making a kind of play on custodia oculorum or custody of the eyes, which is enjoined in monastic (and general religious) life — I use it not because of any empathy with the prudery of those who tout this term nowadays, but because of the sense that when living in a densely populated place (unfamiliar to a rurally-based Australian!), windows are more acutely potential sites of failure to respect privacy — in all directions.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Vegan Lima Bean Patties

By Tracy

One medium onion, diced
240g cooked lima beans
Canola oil for frying
Chilli or other seasoning
Floury potatoes, 2-3 medium
1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 tsp egg replacer 

Fry onion with chilli or other seasoning and set aside to cool.

Put potatoes on to boil (this will not take long for floury potatoes; don’t let them boil too long or they dissolve).

Mash the potatoes with the nutritional yeast. Fluff the egg replacer with a few teaspoons of water till it clumps, then mix into the potato mash. (Otherwise it’s too dry, but you don’t want it runny either.)

In a large bowl, mash lima beans with a fork until they form a fine paste. These beans mash very finely and don’t require a food processor.

Stir in the fried onions, and then combine the potato mash with the bean mash until evenly distributed.

Form into patties and fry for 3-5 minutes each side.

I didn’t use coating, as they crisp and brown by themselves, but if you like a crunchier texture you could use vegan corn crumbs.

The patties here look golden because I used German egg replacer, which contains turmeric – you could add turmeric separately.

Good for sandwiches, or as a meal with salad or cooked vegetables.