April 26, 2013

Friedrich Hölderlin - Love

Source: Selected Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin. Translated by Maxine Chernoff and Paul Hoover. 2008. Omnidawn Publishing: Richmond, California. Pg. 121.

Source - North Carolina State University:
Maxine Chernoff is the author of eight poetry collections including The Turning (Apogee Press, 2008). She is Chair of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University.

Paul Hoover's most recent poetry collection is Edge and Fold: Two Poems (Apogee Press, 2006); he is also editor of Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology (1994).
Friedrich Hölderlin - Love

When you forget a friend who was everything to you,
     You grateful ones, when you slight your poets,
          May God forgive you, but always
               Respect the souls of lovers.

Where do men live humanly, I ask,
     Now that we’re slaves to worry?
          Likewise, the gods have wandered
               Indifferently over our heads.

Yet no matter how cold and songless the year,
     At the right time and in season
          Spring grass turns the white field green,
               And often a lonely bird sings,

As the woods fills in with leaves and the river stirs,
     At the appointed hour
          Milder winds blow gently from the South,
               Sign of a better season,

We believe that from the virgin, unshakeable
     Soil, proud and self-satisfied,
          Noble and pious, Love, God’s daughter,
               Comes from him alone.

As the ethereal powers of nature
     Nourish you like nectar, and you ripen
          From highest light, let me bless you,
               Love, with my song.

Grow and become a wood!  A living soul,
     A fully blossoming world!  May the language
          Of lovers be our native tongue,
              Their souls the speech of men.