sb: have you seen my last hymn to the night: novalis?
pt: no, i haven’t.
sb: that’s a short film, maybe four and a half minutes, where i scratched sections of that poem onto the film, so the words appear as electrical fires interwoven with paint. the other version i made this past year, pulling out from under all this awful cancer treatment i’ve been through. i tried to imagine what novalis’ last hymn to the night might have been, when he’d be beyond language. it’s a twenty-five minute film, the most elaborate hand-painted film i’ve made. *
the universally gladdening light... as inmost soul... it is breathed by stars... by stone... i seek to blend with ashes **
... night became the mighty womb of revelations - the gods drew back into it - and fell asleep, only to go out in new and more splendid forms over the changed world ... the new world appeared with features never seen before... ***
* philip taaffe: composite nature - peter blum edition - 1998
** david e. james (edited) - stan brakhage: filmmaker - temple university press - 2005
specifically - r. bruce elder - brakhage - poesis (text used in film)
*** novalis - hymns to the night - 1800 - translation dick higgins