What is a spring dusk?
… it is getting dark, our words lose themselves among unclear associations: Acheron, Orcus, the Underworld … Do you feel darkness seeping out of these words, molehills crumbling, the smell of cellars, of graves slowly opening? What is a spring dusk?
… When the tree roots want to speak, when under the turf a great many old tales and ancient sagas have been collected, when too many whispers have been gathered underground, inarticulate pulp and dark nameless things that existed before words — then the bark of trees blackens and disintegrates into thick rough scales which form deep furrows. You dip your face into that fluffy fur of dusk, and everything becomes impenetrable and airless like under the lid of a coffin. Then you must screw up your eyes and bully them, squeeze your sight through the impenetrable, push across the dull humus — and suddenly you are at your goal, on the other side; you are in the Deep, in the Underworld. And you can see …
It is not quite dark here as we thought. On the contrary, the interior is pulsating with light. It is, of course, the internal light of roots, a wandering phosphorescence, tiny veins of light marbling the darkness, an evanescent shimmer of nightmarish substances. Likewise, when we sleep, severed from the world, straying into deep introversion, on a return journey into ourselves, we can see clearly through our closed eyelids, because thoughts are kindled in us by internal tapers and smolder erratically. This is how total regressions occur, retreats into self, journeys to the roots. This is how we branch out into anamnesis and are shaken by underground subcutaneous shivers. For it is only above ground, in the light of day, that we are a trembling, articulate bundle of tunes; in the depth we disintegrate again into black murmurs, confused purring, a multitude of unfinished stories.
It is only now that we realize what the soil is on which spring thrives and why spring is so unspeakably sad and heavy with knowledge. Oh, we would not have believed it had we not seen it with our own eyes! Here are labyrinths of depth, warehouses and silos of things, graves that are still warm, the litter, and the rot. Age-old tales. Seven layers (like in ancient Troy), corridors, chambers, treasure chests. Numerous golden masks — one next to another — flattened smiles, faces eaten out, mummies, empty cocoons …
… But we have not finished yet; we can go deeper. There is nothing to fear. Give me your hand, take another step; we are at the roots now, and at once everything becomes dark, spicy, and tangled like in the depth of a forest. There is a smell of turf and tree rot; roots wander about, entwined, full with juices that rise as if sucked up by pumps. We are on the nether side, at the lining of things, in gloom stitched with phosphorescence. There is a lot of movement and traffic, pulp and rot, tribes and generations, a brood of Bibles and Iliads multiplied a thousand times! Wanderings and tumult, the tangle and hubbub of history! That road leads no farther. We are here at the very bottom, in the dark foundations, among the Mothers. Here are the bottomless infernos, the hopeless Ossianic spaces, all those lamentable Nibelungs. Here are the great breeding grounds of history, factories of plots, hazy smoking rooms of fables and tales. Now at last one can understand the great and sad machinery of spring. Ah, how it thrives on stories, on events, on chronicles, on destinies! Everything we have ever read, all the stories we have heard and those we have never heard before but have been dreaming since childhood — here and nowhere else is their home and their motherland. Where would writers find their ideas, how would they muster the courage for invention, had they not been aware of these reserves, frozen capital, these funds salted away in the underworld? What a buzz of whispers, what persistent purr of the earth! Continuous persuasions are throbbing in your ears. You walk with half-closed eyes in a warmth of whispers, smiles, and suggestions, importuned endlessly, pinpricked a thousand times by questions as though by delicate insect proboscides. They would like you to take something from them, absorb it into your young life, into your bloodstream; save it, and try to live with it. For what is spring if not a resurrection of history? It alone among these disembodies things is alive, real, cool, and unknowing. Oh, how attracted are these specters and phantoms, larvae and lemurs, to its young green blood, to its vegetative ignorance!
… Before the oldest known legend there were others no one has ever heard; there were nameless forerunners; novels without a title; enormous, pale, and monotonous epics; shapeless bardic tales; formless plots; giants without faces; dark texts written for the drama of evening clouds. And behind these lays, sagas, unwritten books, books — eternal pretenders, and lost books in partibus infidelium.
… Ah, all these rapes and pursuits of that night, the treacheries and whispers, Negroes and helmsmen, balcony railings and night blinds, muslin frocks and veils trailing behind hurried escapes! … Until at last, after a sudden blackout, a dull black pause, a moment comes when all the puppets are back in their boxes, all the curtains are drawn, and all the bated breaths are quietly exhaled, while on the vast calm sky dawn is building noiselessly its distant pink and white cities, its delicate, lofty pagodas and minarets.