Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin


Celebration of Peace - 2

He isn’t of the present, but neither comes he unannounced.
And one who has feared neither flood nor flame
Will not surprise us without reason, now that all is quiet,
And dominion is nowhere seen among spirits and humans.
They just now hear the work that has been
Long in preparation, from morning to evening.
For the thunderer’s echo, the thousand-year storm,
Roars down towards rest, resounding immeasurably
In the depths, while peaceful sounds rise above.
But you, days of innocence, have become dear to us:
Today you bring the festival, beloved ones!
And the spirit flourishes in the evening stillness,
And I must urge you, friends, to prepare the wreaths
And the food, even if your hair is gray,
As if we were now eternal youths.

There are many I should like to invite, but you
Who were devoted to mankind in a friendly, yet
Earnest way, who liked to stay at the well
Under Syrian palms, near the city—where fields
Of grain rustled in the wind, and you breathed in
The coolness from the shaded holy mountain,
And the loyal clouds, your friends,
Cast their shade around you as well,
So that your holy, daring radiance shone gently
Through the wilderness toward men, o Youth!
But then a deadly fate enshadowed you
More darkly, terribly and definitively
In the middle of your words. Thus everything
From heaven passes quickly, but not in vain.


Continues            Home          All poems 


Website and Translations Copyright © 2020 by James Mitchell