The sated day is never first.
The best day is a day of thirst.
Yes, there is goal and meaning in our path -
but it's the way that is the labour's worth.
The best goal is a night-long rest,
fire lit, and bread broken in haste.
In places where one sleeps but once,
sleep is secure, dreams full of songs.
Strike camp, strike camp! The new day shows its light.
Our great adventure has no end in sight.
Yes, of course it hurts
Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking.
Why else would the springtime falter?
Why would all our ardent longing
bind itself in frozen, bitter pallor?
After all, the bud was covered all the winter.
What new thing is it that bursts and wears?
Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking,
hurts for that which grows
and that which bars.
Yes, it is hard when drops are falling.
Trembling with fear, and heavy hanging,
cleaving to the twig, and swelling, sliding -
weight draws them down, though they go on clinging.
Hard to be uncertain, afraid and divided,
hard to feel the depths attract and call,
yet sit fast and merely tremble -
hard to want to stay
and want to fall.
Then, when things are worst and nothing helps
the tree's buds break as in rejoicing,
then, when no fear holds back any longer,
down in glitter go the twig's drops plunging,
forget that they were frightened by the new,
forget their fear before the flight unfurled -
feel for a second their greatest safety,
rest in that trust
that creates the world.
See the mighty clouds, whose distant lofty tops
proud, shimmering rise, white as white snow!
Calmly they glide on, at last in calm to die below,
slowly dissolving in a shower of cool drops.
Majestic clouds - smiling onward they go straight
through life, through death in brilliant sun,
in ether so clear and pure, dark care unknown,
with quiet and grand contempt for their fate.
Would I were granted, festively proud as those,
to climb where the bustle of worlds does not tread
and bear the sunlight's golden wreath around my head
no matter how angrily round me the storms' roar goes.
The best that we possess,
we cannot give away.
we cannot write it either.
and neither can we say.
The best that is in your mind
no one can make unclean.
It shines there deep inside
for you and God alone.
It is the glory of our wealth
that no one else can gain it.
It is the torment of our poverty
that no one else can attain it.
Half awake the summer night broods
quietly on dreams that no one knows.
The tarns' glistening floods
reflect a twilight sky's
infinity, pale, morose,
Whiter grow the stars on high.
sings alone her toneless, comfortless melody.
Never boldly, towards the heights she swings,
because of her lowness hovers low.
Downy twilight wings
seem bound to the earth,
by dust and soil weighed down below.
Woe to him whose wings in pair
helplessly drawn to the mud, whose colours they bear.
But the whitest of white among swans,
that travel in morning's bright space
their royal lanes,
never cherished a yearning
such as the nightjar has.
None has a longing so true
for the distant and far
as the nightjar
for the ever beckoning, ever yielding blue.
This is life's silent hour,
sunny and blessed,
laughing white in power-conscious peace.
The rejoicing and the songs fell silent,
for Joy overflowed the shores.
Hail to you, Joy, Joy,
in your silent, vainglorious smile!
You alone can plumb
the secret of the worlds.
O bubbles, bubbles, o foam, foam
are all our care, all our grief,
yes foam on measureless expanses,
bubbles on the ocean
is that which we chase and cherish and fear,
but Joy, Joy is the world's foundation.
How do I dare…? And yet!
Do you think that life's flower,
carved a thousand times by suffering.
would continue in darkest darkness
to shine in beauty in spite of everything,
were not its root and heart
heavy, yes, brimful of bliss?
O bubbles, bubbles, o foam, foam
is all our pain, our blind grief.
Joy alone knows more than others.
Yes, in its holy white hours
rests in the leaves' quivering daylight
the reflection of godlike depths,
Like tidal waves, like thunderclouds
day's care will soon envelop me.
Let me remember in tears and greyness,
that clarity's blinding moment
forced me to say to life and death,
to the whole world and even to myself:
No time is like this one,
the evening's final, silent hour.
No sorrows burn any longer,
no voices crowd any more.
Then take now into your hands
this day that is past, like a token.
For I know: into good you will turn
what I have held or broken.
Evilly I think, evilly I act,
but all things you heal and cleanse.
My days then you transform
From gravel to precious stones.
You must lift, you must carry,
I can only leave all things behind.
Take me, lead me, be close to me!
Show me what you next may intend!