Hermann Hesse, Translated by James Wright

Uber die felder....

Uber den Himmel Wolken ziehn
Uber die Felder geht der Wind,
Uber die Felder wandert
Meiner Mutter verlorences Kind.

Uber die Strasse Blatter wehn,
Uber den Baumen Vogel schrein-
Irgendwo uber den Bergen
Muss meine ferne Heimat sein.


Across the Fields...

Across the sky, the clouds move,
Across the fields, the wind,
Across the fields the lost child
Of my mother wanders.

Across the street, leaves blow,
Across the trees, birds cry-
Across the mountains, far away,
My home must be.

Einsame Nacht

Die ihr meine Bruder seid,
Arme Menschen nah und ferne,
Die ihr im Bezirk der Sterne
Tostung traumet eurem Leid,
Die ihr wortelos gefaltet
In die blass gestirnte Nacht
Schmale Dulderhande haltet,
Die ihr leidet, die ihr wacht,
Arme, irrende Gemeinde,
Schiffer ohne Stern und Gluck-
Fremde, dennoch mir Vereinte,
Gebr mir meinen Gruss zuruck!


Lonesome Night

You brothers, who are mine,
Poor people, near and far,
Longing for every star,
Dream of relief from pain,
You stumbling dumb
At night, as pale stars break,
Lift your think hands for some
Hope, and suffer, and wake,
Poor muddling commonplace,
You sailors who must live
Unstarred by hopelessness,
We share a single face.
Give me my welcome back.

Poems by Hermann Hesse, translated by James Wright, 1970


  1. Thanks for posting the Hesse poetry, Claudia

    The "Uber die felder...." translation, made easy by straightforward syntax, is passable but in the more complex "Einsame Nacht" Wright seems to be taking too many liberties. E.g. how does he get "Longing for every star" from Die ihr im Bezirk der Sterne?

    I'm probably missing something.

  2. Conrad,
    I did check to see if I transcribed it correctly and it is correct.
    Do you speak German?

  3. Claudia,

    I'm just commenting on Wright's translation of a single line: but I think the same criticism goes for the entire passage.

    I took a little German in university so I could read philosophical texts in their original. But alas! it was such a long time ago.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts