So Many Tears
Here am I listening to JS Bach’s Erbarme Dich and weeping, weeping, weeping: such tears of sadness as if all the pain, all the suffering of the past five thousand years has come to be within me, this selfish man who caused so much suffering, who once – long ago it seems – thought he knew and understood and who thus sent forth so many words.
So many words… Now there is only the pain of knowing; only the anguish of failure; only one allegory among so many to bring that feeling, that knowing, which is far beyond any words I know.
So much failure so many times, by me, by others. Why cannot we learn? Why have we not learnt? Why has not the simple love of one such simple numinous allegory come to stay with us, day after day, decade upon decade, century after century? Why did not the simple love of my own personal leaning born from the tragedy of one beautiful woman’s death stay with me through those so recent weeks of ignorance when I turned back toward a vainful striving?
Why have we always, it seems, regressed toward the mistakes of our past? The mistakes of suffering born from striving for – from adherence to – some abstraction which leeches away that personal love, that compassion, that empathy that is the very essence of our human being?
So and yet again I am humbled by my own knowledge of myself; by that love which has lived within so many others century century and which so briefly lived within me until I became distracted again by the passion of following some stupid inhuman abstraction.
Failure upon failure; death following death; suffering upon suffering. Why have we not learnt? Why have I not learnt? Or am I by my life – by the mistakes of my life, by my own stupidity, time upon time – just one more example among so many examples these past five thousand years?
So much promise – oh how so much promise! – that lives within us, that has lived within some of us but which so many, it seems, take or leech away through their own selfish passion or through their striving for some lifeless un-numinous abstraction, just as it lived within her, him, taken from them as it was taken from them by things not even now fully understood but only felt as when I as in the moment just now past bent down, weeping, weeping, weeping such tears of sadness as if all the anguish of the centuries was seeping out from the depths below.
So, the music ends, and I am once again one man veering toward old age, looking out toward the autumnal hill where the clouds of Dusk have come to cover the setting Sun as begins again one more dark night for this forgetful fool.
Erbarme dich, mein Gott,
um meiner Zähren willen!
Schaue hier, Herz und Auge
weint vor dir bitterlich.
Erbarme dich, mein Gott.
Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen,
stell’ ich mich doch wieder ein;
hat uns doch dein Sohn verglichen
durch sein’ Angst und Todespein.
Ich verleugne nicht die Schuld;
aber deine Gnad’ und Huld
ist viel größer als die Sünde,
die ich stets in mir befinde.