Thursday, 24 July 2008

Poems about hesitation


I cycled to the Botanical Gardens again, and I had an epiphany: I am allowed just to enjoy beautiful things, like this sea of summer flowers. And the quiet buzz of a garden.

I know, it's probably old age. When I was young, sex pretty much eclipsed everything, and now, frankly, I don't give a damn.  
To be honest, taking pictures of the water lilies is probably just as exciting.

This is what Thomas Gray heard and saw:

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds

(Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard)

Now here is what Goethe wrote (in a poem every schoolchild of my generation knows by heart - at least the first verse): 
Über allen Gipfeln
Ist Ruh',
In allen Wipfeln
Spürest Du
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.
Warte nur!
Balde
Ruhest
Du auch.
(Ein gleiches)
Here is how Longfellow translated it into English:

O'er all the hill-tops
Is quiet now
In all the tree-tops
Hearest thou
Hardly a breath;
The birds are asleep in the trees:
Wait; soon like these
Thou too shalt rest.

 
Hello flowers, hello life, hello the sounds of silence!

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