Faust Walpurgisnacht

Listening to Beethoven and reading Faust… I know what you’re saying. You’re saying: how can you do two masochistic things at once! Well, trust me (when I worst-write)… It’s not easy. Usually what happens is that I turn off the sound system and continue reading. Call it a tick of mine. The music gets me riled and then I indulge in literary substance and then…

I should know Faust much better, to say the least. And when/if it’s being staged, I put no effort into seeing it. Such a wordy piece to put in front of an audience and then to close it into the walls of a Theater… Thank goodness this piece was written in a day when only words mattered. And because of that, I enjoy walking around with bare feet and a paperback version and perhaps a Sonata or two surrounding me. Yes. Transcribe the words into my brain and then wait for the moment of euphoria to reach out. It starts to blossom and there is no ”Theater” comparable. Where Shakespeare fascinates with story and text, Goethe splices and dices the thing I call humanity.

Every once-a-once as I read this work, a leap of discovery is in the lurks. Beyond curiosity the chasm waves. I linger upon such sullen days. The sounds of frequented times arrive. As preposterous as this, there is only my demise. It must have been the third or fourth read of Faust. When I discovered the scene that saved my faith. Short and sweet and discrete, this writer of humanity revealed the sweet. Lilith is her name and she wears long, red hair. She attracts men like honey and snare. She dances with charm and wits her way ’round, to a place in my heart that has only sight and sound.

(Un)Fortunately Lilith has been edited out of all the dogma. But if you look closely, you will easily find her throughout all things (Abraham) religious. For example. Check out any of the famous paintings. Usually there is a half-snake or beast and half woman wrapped around the tree of knowledge. I mean, come on, Satan or no Satan: were Adam & Eve really alone in ”paradise”? I mean, were they really the ONLY ones? Since I know a little about the deep desires of manhood – you know, polygamy and whatnot – could Adam, with the strength of his pectorals, biceps and quads, have been satisfied with just one wife during a time when banging them on the head and dragging them off to your cave was part of (any) gettin’ some? Obviously, Lilith didn’t think that was cool. But you won’t see that in the paintings. All you get is what THEY want you to know for THEIR sake.

OK. For you ”believers” out there. I digress.

One of my favorite scenes from Goethe’s Faust is Walpurgisnacht. In this scene Faust, pushed on by Mephistopheles, meets a Witch. Depending on the version you are reading, the person Faust meets could also be called Beauty, The Pretty Witch or The Young One. Of course, this scene has to do with Man’s (Faust’s) desires (Tommi interpretation). Luckily, and very briefly, Goethe gives us the name of the person Faust meets. She is called: Lilith. Quite a fascinating and practically forgotten character in the history of all things religious and confused. Thank goodness Goethe managed to re-edit Her back into the world of literature.

Here the scene/moment that so dazzles me, perhaps just like Her hair would. First I offer the original German, then follow up with my own translation.

Faust: Wer ist denn das?

Mephistopheles: Betrachte sie genau! Lilith ist das.

Faust: Wer?

Mephistopheles: Adams erste Frau. Nimm dich in acht vor ihren schönen Haaren, Vor diesem Schmuck, mit dem sie einzig prangt. Wenn sie damit den jungen Mann erlangt, So läßt sie ihn so bald nicht wieder farhen.

Faust: Da sitzen zwei, die Alte mit der Jungen; Die haben schon was Rechts gesprungen! Mephistopheles: Das hat nun heute Keine Ruh. Es geht zum neuen Tanz; nun komm! wir greifen zu. Faust (mit der Jungen tanzend): Einst hatt’ ich einen schˆnen Traum: Da sah ich einen Apfelbaum, Zwei schöne Äpfel glänzten dran, Sie reizten mich, ich stieg hinan.

Die Schönen: Der Äpfelchen begehrt ihr sehr, Und schon vom Paradiese her. Von Freuden f ̧hl’ ich mich bewegt, Daß auch mein Garten solche trägt.

And now, the Tommi version:

Faust: Who the fuck is that, Man!

Mephistopheles: Check it out, Dude! That’s Lilith.

Faust: Who?

Mephistopheles: Adam’s first bang. Watch out for that red hair, Dude. It’ll do to you more than just dazzle. If she catches a young guy like you in it, good friggin’ luck gettin’ out.

Faust: There’s two of ’em, Man. One’s young, the other’s not. They both look like they’ve been dancing a lot.

Mephistopheles: Then let’s keep ’em goin’. Grab one and get some. Come ’on.

Faust (dancing with the young one): I recently had this awesome dream: I saw an apple tree and on it were these two apples. They got me all riled and ready, so I climbed into their tree.

The Young One: So you like apples, do ya. Like the ones from paradise. They get me ready, as well. Cause my garden is full of them.

Wow. No rant today. Sorry about that.

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Rant on.

-tgs-