Hermann Hesse: “All Deaths”

All Deaths

I have already died all the deaths there are,
And I will die all deaths again:
the death of the wood inside a tree,
the death of the stone inside a mountain,
the earthen death within the gravel,
the leafy death in the rustling summer grass,
the pitiable, bloody death of men.

As a flower, I will be born again,
as tree and grass will I be born,
fish and deer, butterfly and bird.
And from each form,
desire will drag me through its stages
till I reach the final sorrow:
the sorrow of men.

O trembling bent-back bow,
when the raging fists of desire
require both poles of life
to bend toward each other!
Yet often and often again,
you have chased me from dying into living
on the painful path of taking shape,
on the wondrous path of taking shape.

Hermann Hesse

Translated from German by Paul Weinfield, © 2014

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