May 14, 2013

Friedrich Hölderlin - The Blind Singer


Source: Selected Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin. Translated by Maxine Chernoff and Paul Hoover. 2008. Omnidawn Publishing: Richmond, California. Pg. 151-155.

Friedrich Hölderlin - The Blind Singer

Where are you, young one, who would always
     Wake me in the morning, where are you, light?
         My heart is awake, but the night always
             Holds and binds me in its holy magic.

Once near dawn I listened, glad to wait
     For you on the hill, and never for nothing!
         Not once did your messengers, the sweet breezes,
             Deceive me, for always you came,

All-inspiring in your loveliness,
     Down the usual path; where are you, light?
         Once again, my heart is awake, but always
             The endless night binds and constrains me.

Once the leaves greened for me; the flowers
     Would shine like my own eyes;
         Not far away, familiar faces
             Shone for me, and, when I

Was a child, I saw the wings of heaven
     Traveling above and around the woods;
         Now I sit silent and alone, from one
             Hour to the next, making shapes

Of love and pain from brighter days,
     Taking comfort only in my thoughts,
         And strain far to hear if perhaps
             A kindly rescuer comes to me.

Then I often hear the voice of the Thunderer
     At midday, when the brazen one comes near,
         When he shakes his house, and under him
             The foundation quakes, and the mountain resounds.

Then I hear my rescuer in the night, I hear
     Him kill, this liberator, to give new life;
         From sunrise to sunset I hear the Thunderer
             Hurry on, and you call in his direction,

My strings! My song lives with him,
     And, as the stream follows the source,
         Wherever he has a thought, I must also go,
             Following the sure one on his erratic path.

Where to? Where to? I hear you here and there,
     Majestic one! And all around the earth it sounds.
         Where do you end? And what, what is there,
             Beyond the clouds, and what will become of me?

Day! Day! Above the tumbling clouds, I will
     Welcome you back! my eyes will flower for you,
         O light of youth, o joy, returning once again,
             Yet now more spiritually the golden source

Flows from its holy chalice, and you,
     Green earth, in your peaceful cradle, and you,
         House of my fathers! and you, loved ones
             I met once in the past, o draw near,

O come, that the joy will be yours,
     That you all will receive the seeing man's blessing!
         O take this life from me, that I may
             Endure it, take the godly from my heart.