I was reading A Dark Muse: The History of the Occult when I stumbled upon the term Sehnsucht. Though I’d seen it before in the book The Quest For Christa T by Christa Wolfe and on my CD by Rammstein, it took on a new significance to me. It seemed to encapsulate all that felt that summer of 2005.
Sehnsucht is the German word for longing. But the word encapsulates not just yearning. It is a romantic notion of desire and its persistence in our lives. It represents a distant mountain peak or a beautiful sunset on the distant horizon. It is a sort of acceptance or decided desire for something that is unreachable or unobtainable.
Sehnsucht took on a particular significance in the work of author C. S. Lewis. Lewis described Sehnsucht as the “inconsolable longing” in the human heart for “we know not what.” Thought I had not read his nonfiction writing, I had been a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia since I was a child. Perhaps part of my connection to his books was the subtext of Sehnsucht even his fiction.
Later, I discovered that I discovered the association between Sehnsucht and Blue Roses. Due to the absence in nature of blue roses they have come to symbolize mystery and longing to attain the impossible. However, the symbolism extends beyond roses. A blue flower in general (German: Blaue Blume) is a central symbol of inspiration. It stands for desire, love, and the metaphysical striving for the infinite and unreachable. It symbolizes the beauty of things.
Fascinated by the symbolism, I used it to frame story I wrote about a relationship filled with Sehnsucht. I’ve since posted the three parts of the story on The Writer’s Café, where I post all of my poetry and fiction. Here is the link to the story: