Sunday, January 25, 2015

German Love Poems


 
WITHOUT YOU
 
by Hermann Hesse
 
 
My pillow gazes upon me at night
Empty as a gravestone;
I never thought it would be so bitter
To be alone,
Not to lie down asleep in your hair.
 
I lie alone in a silent house,
The hanging lamp darkened,
And gently stretch out my hands
To gather in yours,
And softly press my warm mouth
Toward you, and kiss myself, exhausted and weak--
Then suddenly I'm awake
And all around me the cold night grows still.
The star in the window shines clearly--
Where is your blonde hair,
Where your sweet mouth?
 
Now I drink pain in every delight
And poison in every wine;
I never knew it would be so better
To be alone,
Alone, without you.
 
LOVE'S DISTRESS
 
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Who will hear me? Whom shall I lament to?
Who would pity me that heard my sorrows?
Ah, the lip that erst so many raptures
Used to taste, and used to give responsive,
Now is cloven, and it pains me sorely;
And it is not thus severely wounded
By my mistress having caught me fiercely,
And then gently bitten me, intending
To secure her friend more firmly to her:
No, my tender lip is crack'd thus, only
By the winds, o'er rime and frost proceeding,
Pointed, sharp, unloving, having met me.
Now the noble grape's bright juice commingled
With the bee's sweet juice, upon the fire
Of my hearth, shall ease me of my torment.
Ah, what use will all this be, if with it
Love adds not a drop of his own balsam?

LOVE SONG

by Rainer Maria Rilke

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn't touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh, sweetest song.
 


2 comments:

  1. Rilke is one of my faves...these are grand!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Margaret, I thought his poem was lovely, as well.

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