Friday, July 26, 2013

Hermann Hesse: Poem for a Friday Afternoon

Photo by 8#X

The First Flowers
Beside the brook
Toward the willows,
During these days
So many yellow flowers have opened
Their eyes into gold.
I have long since lost my innocence, yet a memory
Touches my depth, the golden hours of morning, 

And gazes brilliantly upon me out of the eyes of flowers.
I was going to pick flowers;
Now I leave them all standing
And walk home, an old man.

- Hermann Hesse 
  translated by James Wright

This poem comes from a collection selected and translated by esteemed American poet, James Wright. Though a relatively brief selection of his works (and a selection from that selection may be found here), the poems all center around one of Hesse's, and James Wright's, important themes: the concept of home. 

Coincidentally, something I'm reading for a bookclub I'm in deals with the spatial aspects of the house and the broader concept of home. 

Or, maybe not so coincidentally.

The Hesse volume has been around and in print since the early 70s and is available both in inexpensive used copies from abebooks and new copies from the same source (priced lower than that big box website). And, though this is not a small press item, shopping at abe supports independent booksellers, used, rare, and new, which is a nice thought to end the week on.


 Photo by Tanaka Juuyoh

in a village of people
they grow crooked...
field chrysanthemums
translated by David G. Lanoue



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Ed Baker said...
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Mary Frederick Ahearn said...

"...out of the eyes of flowers..." - love that phrase, love the poem. And Issa just tops it off - and yes, the wonderful art partners you used.
I like to leave the flowers in the fields too these days. I remember parking along roadsides when young to pick flowers, no more. They belong under the sky and in the rain.
Thanks for the posting,

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


How it all balances out in our lives ...