Poet Lore/Volume 27/Number 6/Three Songs from "Buch der Lieder"
THREE SONGS FROM “BUCH DER LIEDER”
Translated from the German by Sarah T. Barrows
Their languid lips are wanly smiling,
Their shining souls are without seam:
A longing as for sin’s beguiling
Is ever flitting through their dream.
Each one is very like his brother;
In God’s fair fields they’re silent all,
Like intervals, one and another
That in His might and music fall.
Save when, their gauzy wings unfolding,
They gently wake the sleeping wind:
As if God’s broad and deftly moulding
Hand turned the leaves that He is holding
In the dark book of origin.
A GRAVE HOUR
Who now weeps anywhere in the world,
Without cause weeps in the world,
Weeps over me.
Who now laughs anywhere in the night,
Without cause laughs in the night,
Laughs at me.
Who now goes anywhere in the world,
Without cause goes in the world,
Goes to me.
Who now dies anywhere in the world,
Without cause dies in the world,
Looks at me.
I’m like a silken streamer in solitude flying.
I presage the winds that are coming, and share their sighing,
While on the earth below there’s nothing stirring;
The doors close gently as yet and no fitful gusts in the chimneys;
No windows tremble as yet, and from dust the air’s free.
But I feel the coming wind, and am disturbed as the sea.
And spread myself out and roll myself to a cone,
And flutter and flap and am all alone
In the mighty storm.