Sunday, 30 October 2011

Herman Hesse (21/7/1877 - 9/8/62) - The Poet

Only on me, the lonely one,
The unending stars of the night shine,
The stone fountain whispers its magic song.
To me alone, to me the lonely one
The colourful shadows of the wandering clouds
Move like dreams over the open countryside.
Neither house nor farmland,
either forest nor hunting privelege is given to me,
What is mine belongs to no one,
The plungeing brook behind the veil of the woods,
The frightening sea,
The bird whir of children at play,
The weeping and singing, lonely in the evening, of a
    man secretly in love.
The temples of the gods are mine also, and mine
The arisocratic groves of the past.
And no less, the luminous
Vault of heaven in the future is my home:
Often in full flight of longing my soul storms upwards,
To gaze on the future of blessed men,
Love overtaking the law, love from people to people.
I find them all again, nobly transformed:
Farmer,King,  tradesmen, busy sailors,
Shepherd and gardener, all of them
Gratefully celebrate the festival of the future world.
Only the poet is missing,
The lonely one who looks on,
The bearer of human longing, the pale image
Of whom the future, the fulfillment of the world
Has no further need. Many garlands
Wilt on his grave,
But no one remembers him.

1911

translated from the German by
James Wright.

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