Tuesday 20 October 2009

On occasion of today's weather

(thick, impenetrable white fog even now at 11 o'clock)
Im Nebel

Seltsam, im Nebel zu wandern!
Einsam ist jeder Busch und Stein,
Kein Baum sieht den andern,
Jeder ist allein.

Voll Freunden war mir die Welt,
Als noch mein Leben licht war;
Nun, da der Nebel fällt,
Ist keiner mehr sichtbar.

Wahrlich, keiner ist weise,
Der nicht das Dunkel kennt,
Das unentrinnbar und leise
Von allen ihn trennt.

Seltsam, im Nebel zu wandern!
Leben ist Einsamsein.
Kein Mensch kennt den andern,
Jeder ist allein.

Hermann Hesse

We worked extensively on this poem in our German lessons in 9th or 10th grade, interpreting and translating to a number of secondary languages we were capable of, and making a little public exhibit of our results at the end. We were the class with Spanish as the 3rd foreign language, so we had English, French, Spanish and Latin available by default (not sure if anyone did it in Latin though), and then some of us knew additional languages: One girl was of Brazilian parentage, another one of Serbian, there may have been one or two more in the mix. I did a Danish translation!

So although I rarely feel as lonely as Hesse describes, I do have a special bond to this poem, among a few others.

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