Monday, February 28, 2011

Memories of Inge Lüdke

- by Angelica Thiemann with small additions of IB Bastian, January 23, 2011

I first met Inge as a member of an Anthroposophical Society group, probably in 1986, and soon learned that if she began to speak it would only be loosely connected with the subject at hand, more reflect her preoccupation with whatever spiritual subject she was involved with, and take considerable time. Towards the end of her life the subject usually had to do with angels. Often she could not quite give all the examples she wished, ending a train of thought with "and so on and so on", then happily continuing.

She used to tell us to concern ourselves with matters of the world, conveying her sense we had no idea of anything.

It was only when I met her personally for an interview, or when I was giving her a lift to somewhere that I came to know her lovable self, her warmth, her gratitude for even small things, her enthusiasm, which right into her nineties could literally make her jump for joy.

She had an abiding love for sweets and gave a dose of it to people who would drive her somewhere as a sign of recognition for the service.

In her later years Inge loved teaching on the subject of myths in the department for Continuing Education at McGill, usually walking from her home in Westmount to the university right into her Nineties. When she stopped teaching at McGill a number of devoted listeners pleaded with her to continue with teaching at her home, which she did only too gladly.

She loved poetry and produced a lot of it. She would treat us in the group to poems especially created for different occasions. Since she vehemently rejected modern conveniences, they were written on her typewriter, for which she had increasing problems to find ribbons. In no way did she ever consider writing anything except by hand or her typewriter.

I could find only one of her poems dated February 24, 1997. Here it is. Although the translation doesn't rhyme as Inge's does it may give an image of who Inge was at heart.

Ins große Schneetreiben blickend

Die Stille und das Schweigen
Tanzen einen Reigen
In der Innenwelt,
Die uns zusammenhält.

Hohe Töne strahlen,
Sanfte Töne malen,
Tiefe Töne wollen
Was wir draußen sollen,
Wenn ein Fuß dem andern folgt,
Am Wegesrand ein Untier grollt,
Von ferne die Versuchung blitzt,
An einer Tür ein Bettler sitzt.

Das Schweigen und die Stille
Schenken uns die Brille
Zu bess'rer Weltbetrachtung
Zu gröss'rer Menschenachtung.

Schließe nicht die Augen
Vor Dingen, die nichts taugen;
Lasse sie nur schmerzen
Und nehme sie zu Herzen.

Gazing Into a Big Snowstorm

Silence and keeping still
Dance a round
In the inner world
That holds us together

High tones ray out,
Gentle tones paint
Deep tones will
What we are meant to do outside
As we go further step by step,
And a monster grumbles at the side of the road,
And in the distance lights up temptation,
And a beggar sits at a doorstep.

Silence and keeping still
Give us the power to better
Consider the world at large
And better respect human beings.

Don't close the eyes
Before things that are no good;
Allow the pain they make you feel
And take them to heart.

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