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Hölderlin Poems

Hölderlin Poems

“All around is the city at rest; the illuminated street becomes silent,
And decorated with torches, the wagons rush away.”

Evening, it is evening, and I am so tired.

 

Sometimes, when I raise my eyes, when I wander lonely through the streets and look at the grey figures shuffling through the streets with their tired faces, I want to sleep.

To rest alone and forget.

 

For I see countless human sacrifie, who hurry home in the evening, into their empty caves,  to end their joyless days hungry and lonely.

 

Has it always been like this?

I don’t think so.

“People go home to rest from the joys of the day,
And profit and loss weigh a meaningful head…”

 

Wasn’t it just yesterday that we danced together?

That our hearts sang together and we all stood firmly on our earth?

“… did you find, as a youth,
In the days of hope,
If you sang, never the end?”

Was that so long ago?

 

We all only looked away for a moment, were only briefly distracted, and suddenly everything disappeared.

How can that be?

How could that happen so quickly?

 

I‘m scared.

Fear of all that can die.

And I want to sleep and forget.

I want everything to be behind.

 

Because worse than our end are all the little deaths that we die every day. The loss of beauty, the loss of our hope and the destruction of our soul.

 

“The walls are standing
Speechless and cold, in the wind
The flags are clinking.”

 

The flags that were once so important to me, that I once carried before me full of pride and courage, now clink lonely in the wind.

Lifeless.

Torn.

Speechless and cold.

 

And not only with me.

Sometime in recent years we have all lost our track. We have given up, lost our beauty and turned away from our ways.

 

My flags were the music, the poets, all that we have built up over the centuries and that has always shown me the way.

But today they no longer blow for me.

And I believe that soon they will no longer blow for anyone.

 

Do you feel it too?

The walls stand speechless and cold.

The old temples and tombs, the palaces, castles, churches and museums.

The stones that spoke to us and showed us who we are.

 

But what do we do when it becomes winter?

What walls should we flee behind?

And at which pictures should we warm ourselves?

 

“Woe to me, where do I take, when
It is winter, the flowers, and where
The sunshine
And the shadow of the earth?”

 

The world is getting colder and colder. And together with it also we.

Look into the eyes of the people, see their despair, their hopelessness and fear.

Do you feel it too?

 

Perhaps what the poets say is true. Perhaps we really are a dying race, a culture in the pale sunset of their being.

“… Do you want in the sunset
take a glad bathe? Away it is, and the earth is cold,
And the bird of the night buzzes
Uncomfortable in front of your eye.”

 

Maybe that’s why there’s so much grief today? So much suffering, despair, tiredness and hatred?

Who can bathe happily in the sunset?

The earth becomes cold.

And the walls that should protect us burst in this frost.

 

Sometimes, when I try to dream, when I listen to my beloved Schubert, when I search for my youth in the books of Balzac, Hesse, Maupassant or Rilke, I can only cry and wish to pass away.

I no longer like this world in which everything beautiful flees and the world sinks into darkness.

 

“I enjoyed the pleasures of this world,
Hours of youth have elapsed, how long! how long!
April and May and Junius are far away,
I’m not anything anymore, I don’t like to live anymore!”

 

On some days I think to myself that I should get over it.

Doesn’t a poet speak of people’s courage in the face of their end? From their despair and the power that arises from it?

 

Maybe I shouldn’t end my life like this. Perhaps I should create something else, something beautiful, before I go. To give something back to art, something of the gift it gave me.

 

I wished I could just once muster the strength to give back at least a grain of dust to our culture, from what it was to me.

So that the walls will hold for a while longer.

Then I could walk in peace.

 

“Just one summer treat, you mighty ones!
And an autumn of ripe song to me,
That more willing my heart, sated
from the sweet play, then die!”

 

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Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse, the misunderstood dreamer, who always started a new journey.

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