Sei nicht traurig, bald ist es Nacht,
Da sehn wir über dem bleichen Land
Den kühlen Mond, wie er heimlich lacht,
Und ruhen Hand in Hand.
Sei night trauig, bald kommt die Zeit,
Da haben wir Ruh. Unsre Kreuzlein stehen
Am hellen Strassenrande zu zweit,
Und es regnet un schneit,
Und die Winde kommen und gehen.
Don’t be sad, soon comes the night,
When we watch over the faint countryside,
As the cool moon secretly laughs
And we rest hand in hand.
Don’t be sad, soon comes the time,
When we rest. Our small crosses will stand
On the bright roadside together,
And it rains and snows,
And the winds come and go.
From the Bantam Book, Hermann Hesse Poems Selected and translated by James Wright
Don’t worry, It will all be over soon.
Oh, and great selection El Presidente.
Yes, it is a little gem of a poem – it has been with me for some time. The book I found it in was originally published in 1970, I got it used for 50 cents. Pages are tanning a bit around the edges, pages a bit brittle. I was never happy with the translation, mine is on the blog post. The translator, James Wright (American, 1927-1980) is an interesting poet as well.
It seems very sad.
Thanks for stopping in and commenting jenny – commentary really brings poetry to life. I thinks some wag somewhere once said that no one has heard more ridiculous comments than a painting hanging in a museum – that simply cannot be said about poetry IMHO – poems need to be read, and then read out loud, and then talked about and figured out. I guess that’s one thing I really like about them.
I suppose it is a sad poem – but what strikes me are the elemental images – the cool, laughing moon, the faint countryside, resting hand in hand, the crosses, the wind, the snow… I think of it as stark rather than necessarily sad – but sadness pervades the imagery I’ll grant that.
Oh and interestingly enough the work “stark” is the German word for “strong”.
sort of gloomy— but beautiful…..
Thanks lali for dropping in.
Yes, we here in sunny Arizona know little of such an obviously winter-setting in the mid-northern latitudes. Winter is coming to many places and that is one reason I posted this poem, besides it is one of my all-time favs and conjures up powerful elemental images of peace, repose, coldness, emptiness, momentary love and contact, and the silent eternity that awaits us all.