Hermann Hesse

at night at the high seas

At night, when the sea cradles me and the pale star gleam lies down on its broad waves, then I free myself wholly from all activity and all the love and stand silent and breathe purely, alone, alone cradled by the sea that lies there, cold and silent, with a thousand lights. Then I have to think of my friends and my gaze sinks into their gazes, and I ask each one, silent, alone: "Are you still mine"? Is my sorrow a sorrow to you, my death a death? Do you feel from my love, my grief, just a breath, just an echo?" And the sea peacefully gazes back, silent, and smiles: No. And no greeting and now answer comes from anywhere.

Translated by James Wright

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