Trakl: The Storm That Is The World & The Home

“Storm” is one of the half-dozen or so poems completed by Trakl in 1914 in the months before his suicide.  It is a significant further development from the style of “Psalm” and the great poems “Helian” and “Elis.”  It maintains their technique of narrative construction as a form of symbolic argument, but much else is new.  There is, for example, the jarring mix of concrete and symbolic images set in opposition to each other, the abrupt changes of context, the use of  plural nouns—mountains, fathers, mothers, eagles, spirits, etc.—as if to describe an entire world by its classes and categories, and the underlying inescapable sense of violence or potential violence that occupies this world:

Storm

You wild mountains, noble Grief of eagles. Gold clouds Smoke above the stony waste. The pines breath a patient stillness, & the black lambs on the abyss, Where the blue suddenly Grows strangely mute, The soft hum of bees. O green flower— O Silence!

Dark & dreamlike, spirits of the torrent Terrify the heart. Darkness That breaks in upon the gorges! White voices Straying through terrible vestibules. Terraces torn apart, Immense & violent anger of fathers, Sad cries of mothers, The boy’s gold battle-cry, & the unborn Groaning with blind eyes.

O grief, fiery vision Of immense spirits! Already in the black tumult Of horses & carriages, The rose‑terrible bolt of lightning Flashes in the ringing spruce. Magnetic cool Hovers around this proud head, The burning sorrow Of an angry God.