Die Gretchenfrage

Karl Constantine FOLKES 1935 (Portland)

Dearly Beloved, Lord Jesus
Who do people say that thou art?
Thou art indeed The Hidden one
Thou art The Christ Resident

In the very depths of the human Soul
The Selbst of the Personal Unconscious
And thy Father — in Heaven
Pray, tell us Lord Jesus

Pray tell us who he is
For even more hidden is he
As the vast unified Spirit
The Great Spirit of Humanity

The Great Beloved, O Song of Songs
The Great Beloved, the Holy One
The Indwelling Eternal One
The Lover of our Collective Unconscious.

About this poem

This poem, Die Gretchenfrage (Gretchen’s Question) can be considered a companion to the poem, Creation, composed by the author in 1961, with its telling line describing mankind’s universal quest to know God, which reads as follows: “…So that the world was made of Alchemy that man might be confused…” The Gretchenfrage poem employs a title used in Goethe’s Faust, published in 1808, in which the character of Gretchen (diminutive form of the German name Margarete) poses a question (Die Gretchenfrage) to the protagonist concerning his views of religion. This “uncomfortable “ question reminds us, in the Book of Job, of Satan (The Adversary) enquiring of God concerning his views of his righteous earthly subject Job, the protagonist of that story. In both stories of the biblical Job and Goethe’s Faust, the Gretchenfrage is employed as a direct and challenging question seeking to unveil the hidden thoughts and attitudes of the presumed adversary. This poem invites us to consider Gretchen’s ‘question,’ “Die Gretchenfrage,” as a question pertaining to the archetypal nature of matters of theology and the esoteric in general that require an unending probing of the metaphysical. 

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Written on March 05, 2015

Submitted by karlcfolkes on September 18, 2021

Modified by karlcfolkes on September 03, 2022

30 sec read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 499
Words 102
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1991 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s ‘Liebe Mili’ (translated into English as “Dear Mili”), Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes of Analytical Psychology. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

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