Hermann Hesse

The Poet

Only on me, the lonely one, The unending stars of the night shine, The stone fountain whispers its magic song, To me alone, to me the lonely one The colorful shadows of the wandering clouds Move like dreams over the open countryside. Neither house nor farmland, Neither forest nor hunting privilege is given to me, What is mine belongs to no one, The plunging brook behind the veil of the woods, The frightening sea, The bird whir of children at play, The weeping and singing, lonely in the evening, of a man secretly in love. The temples of the gods are mine also, and mine the aristocratic groves of the past. And no less, the luminous Vault of heaven in the future is my home: Often in full flight of longing my soul storms upward, To gaze on the future of blessed men, Love, overcoming the law, love from people to people. I find them all again, nobly transformed: Farmer, king, tradesman, busy sailors, Shepherd and gardener, all of them Gratefully celebrate the festival of the future world. Only the poet is missing, The lonely one who looks on, The bearer of human longing, the pale image Of whom the future, the fulfillment of the world Has no further need. Many garlands Wilt on his grave, But no one remembers him.

Translated by James Wright

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