Thursday, April 11, 2013

a poem by Hermann Hesse

Lying in the Grass

Is this everything now, the quick delusions of flowers,
And the down colors of the bright summer meadow,
The soft blue spread of heaven, the bees' song,
Is this everything only a god's
Groaning dream,
The cry of unconscious powers for deliverance?
The distant line of the mountain,
That beautifully and courageously rests in the blue,
Is this too only a convulsion,
Only the wild strain of fermenting nature,
Only grief, only agony, only meaningless fumbling,
Never resting, never a blessed movement?
No! Leave me alone, you impure dream
Of the world in suffering!
The dance of tiny insects cradles you in an evening radiance,
The bird's cry cradles you,
A breath of wind cools my forehead
With consolation.
Leave me alone, you unendurably old human grief!
Let it all be pain.
Let it all be suffering, let it be wretched-
But not this one sweet hour in the summer,
And not the fragrance of the red clover,
And not the deep tender pleasure
In my soul.

Translated by James Wright

A person can read this poem and say, "Well...that was nice. Next."

Or one can read it as a thing perturbed by the ghost of Schopenhauer, disturbed by the Weltschmerz of German Romanticism.  

Some phrases leap off the page:
the quick delusions of flowers
cradles you in an evening radiance
this one sweet hour in the summer
the fragrance of the red clover

One can read this poem as a thing containing aesthetic energy. As a lyrical bringing to light a moment of waking dream -- a duration of shadowed pause in angsty time.

No comments:

Post a Comment