Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Georg Heym's two poems

Umbra Vitae

The people on the streets draw up and stare,
While overhead huge portents cross the sky;
Round fanglike towers threatening comets flare,
Death-bearing, fiery-snouted where they fly.

On every roof astrologers abound,
enormous tubes thrust heavenward; there are
Magicians springing up from underground,
Aslant in darkness, conjuring to a star.

Through night great hordes of suicides are hurled,
Men seeking on their way the selves they've lost;
Crook-backed they haunt all corners of the world,
And with their arms for brooms they sweep the dust.

They are as dust, keep but a little while;
And as they move their hair drops out. They run,
To hasten their slow dying. Then they fall,
And in the open fields lie prone,

But twitch a little still. Beasts of the field
Stand blindly around them, prod with horns
Their sprawling bodies till at last they yield,
Lie buried by the sage-bush, by the thorns.

But all the seas are stopped. Among the waves
The shops hang rotting, scattered, beyond hope.
No current through the water moves,
And all the courts of heaven are locked up.

Trees do not change, the seasons do not change.
Enclosed in dead finality each stands,
And over broken roads lets frigid range
Its palmless thousand-fingered hands.

They dying man sits up, as if to stand,
Just once more word a moment since he cries,
All at once he's gone. Can life so end?
And crushed to fragments are his glassy eyes.

The secret shadows thicken, darkness breaks;
Behind the speechless doors dreams watch and creep.
Burdened by light of dawn the man that wakes
Must rub from grayish eyelids leaden sleep.

—Translated from the German by Christopher Middleton



Torment's curl leaps above his brow,
In which winds and many voices whispering
Swim by like waters flowing.

Yet he runs by his side just like a dog.
And in the mire he picks up everything saying said.
And he weighs it heavily. And it is dead.

Ah gently in the swaying eventide
The Lord walked down over the white fields.
It was him the corn-ears glorified.
His feet were small as flies
In the shrill gleam of golden skies.

—Translated from the German by Christopher Middleton


English language copyright (c) 1962 by Christopher Middleton

Novalis Muse: Sophie von Kühn

Christiane Wilhelmine Sophie von Kühn

„Ich kann sie nicht verstehen; ich kann sie nicht einschätzen. Ich liebe ein Wesen, das ich nicht verstehe. Sie hat mich bekommen, aber sie weiß gar nicht, ob sie mich will. (...) Ich möchte sie nicht ändern doch ich gebe zu, daß ich es könnte, falls es nötig wäre. (...) Ich wäre glücklicher, wenn ich einen Ansatz, nur den Schatten eines Ansatzes fände, wie ich mich ein wenig fühlbar machen könnte. (...)
Sie sagte: „Ehrlich, ich habe Sie gern.“
Sie wünscht allen zu gefallen, will sich aber nicht anpassen.“

Penelope Fitzgerald
Die blaue Blume
München 2008
S. 76f.

Die blaue Blume
Georg Friedrich Philipp Freiherr von Hardenberg (Bio)
Heinrich von Ofterdingen (Inhalt)
Heinrich von Ofterdingen (Volltext)
Heinrich von Ofterdingen (Volltext)

Christiane Wilhelmine Sophie von Kuehn
Verlobte Friedrich von Hardenbergs; er traf die damals 12-Jährige Sophie erstmalig am 17. November 1794. Am 17.3.1795, ihrem dreizehnten Geburtstag, verlobten sich die beiden. Ende des Jahres erkrankte Sophie schwer, mußte 1796 mehrfach operiert werden. Sie verstarb 2 Tage nach ihrem fünfzehnten Geburtstag.

Novalis Poema

Dedicatoria (de Enrique de Ofterdingen)”, de Novalis

Sólo tú has despertado en mí el impulso noble
de mirar hondamente el corazón del mundo;
con tu mano me diste entera confianza
que me llevó seguro por todas tempestades.
Alimentaste al niño de profundos presagios
y tú lo condujiste por prados fabulosos;
como imagen perfecta de la mujer más tierna
su corazón llevaste a la emoción más alta.
¿Qué es eso que me ata a las cuitas terrenas?
Mi corazón, mi vida, ¿no serán siempre tuyos?
¿No habrá de protegerme tu amor en esta vida?
Al noble arte quiero por tu amor consagrarme,
pues tú, adorada, quieres convertirte en mi musa,
y en el tranquilo espíritu que proteja mis versos.
Aquí, bajo el secreto poderío del canto,
en sus trasmutaciones eternas nos saluda;
allí el país bendice como paz infinita
y mientras aquí una juventud nos envuelve.
Es él quien en los ojos claridades derrama
y de las artes sabe mostrarnos el sentido,
y el corazón del hombre fatigado o alegre
en él, intensamente, con gran fervor se gozan.
En su pecho abundante he bebido la vida,
por él en todo cuanto yo soy me he convertido,
y hacia él he levantado exultante mi rostro.
Mi más alto sentido, sin embargo, dormía;
vino el canto flotando hasta mí como un ángel,
y me elevé en el aire, despierto, entre sus brazos.
en Antología de la poesía universal, 1968


Thou didst to life my noble impulse warm,
Deep in the spirit of the world to look.
And with thy hand a trusting faith I took,
Securely bearing me through every storm,
With sweet forebodings thou the child didst bless,
To mystic meadows leading him away,
Stirring his bosom to its finest play,
Ideal, thou, of woman's tenderness.
Earth's vexing trifles shall I not refuse?
Thine is my heart and life eternally,--
Thy love my being constantly renews!
To art I dedicate myself for thee,
For thou, beloved, wilt become the Muse
And gentle Genius of my poesy.
In endless transmutation here below
The hidden might of song our land is greeting;
Now blesses us in form of Peace unfleeting,
And now encircles us with childhood's glow.
She pours an upper light upon the eye,
Defines the sentiment for every art,
And dwells within the glad or weary heart,
To comfort it with wondrous ecstasy.
Through her alone I woke to life the truest,
Drinking the proffered nectar of her breast,
And dared to lift my face With joy the newest.
Yet was my highest sense with sleep oppressed.
Till angel-like thou, loved one, near me flewest.
And, kindling in thy look, I found the rest.