Hermann Hesse: “Lying in the Grass”

Lying in the Grass

Is this all there is now: a brief magic show of flowers,
and the fuzz of colors falling on the bright summer meadow,
and the delicate blue stretched tight across the sky,
and the song of bees?

Is this all nothing
but the groaning dream of some god,
the sound of unknown power crying out for deliverance?

The distant line of a mountain
that rests boldly and beautifully in the blue:
is it only a spasm too,
is it only the savage straining of nature in ferment,
a grief, an agony, an unintelligible fumbling,
a moment without rest, unblessed?

No!  Leave me alone, wicked dream
of a wretched world!
The dance of mosquitos cradles you in the glow of the evening.
The call of birds cradles you too.
A breath of wind cools my forehead
with its flattery.

Leave me alone, ancient sorrow!
Let everything be spoiled.
Let it be suffering and shadows through and through —
But save this one sweet hour of sunlight,
and the scent of the red clover,
and the tender, deep ease
at the center of my soul.

Hermann Hesse

Translated from German by Paul Weinfield, © 2014

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