165
LANGUAGE IN THE POEM
                The music of his ghostly years!

These words, "so quiet," recur in Trakl's poetry again and again. One might think. that "quiet" means at most a barely audible sound, So understood, what was said refers to our perception. However, "quiet" means slow, slowly fading away. Quiet is what slips away. Summer slips away into autumn, the evening of the year .

                . . . through the silvery night there rings
                the footfall of the stranger.

Who is this stranger? Whose paths are they that a "blue wild game" is to recall? To recall means to "ponder forgotten things,"

            ... when in leafy boughs
            The thrush called to a strange thing to go under.

In what sense is the "blue wild game" (cf. 73, 139) to recall what is going under? Does the wild game receive its blue from the "blueness" of the "ghostly twilight dusk." which rises as night? The night is dark, to be sure. But darkness is not necessarily gloom. In another poem (133) night is apostrophized with these words:

                O gentle corn flower sheaf of night.

Night is a cornflower sheaf, a gentle sheaf. So, too, the blue game is called "shy game" (98), the "gentle animal" (91). The sheaf of blueness gathers the depth of the holy in the depths of its bond. The holy shines out of the blueness, even while veiling itself in the dark of that blueness. The holy withholds in withdrawing. The holy bestows its arrival by reserving itself in its withholding withdrawal. Clarity sheltered in the dark is blueness. "Clear" originally means clear sound, the sound that calls out of the shelter of stillness, and so becomes clear. Blueness resounds in its clarity, ringing. In its resounding clarity shines the blue's darkness.

        The stranger's footfalls sound through the silvery gleam
        and ringing of night. Another poem (98) says: