»stufen (steps)« by hermann hesse
listen to hermann hesse reading his poem in german
this is one of my all-time favorite poems - it’s a pity that the quality of the english translation is clearly inferior to the original:
as every blossom fades
and all youth sinks into old age,
so every life’s design, each flower of wisdom,
attains its prime and cannot last forever.
the heart must submit itself courageously
to life’s call without a hint of grief,
a magic dwells in each beginning,
protecting us, telling us how to live.
high purposed we shall traverse realm on realm,
cleaving to none as to a home,
the world of spirit wishes not to fetter us
but raise us higher, step by step.
scarce in some safe accustomed sphere of life
have we establish a house, then we grow lax;
only he who is ready to journey forth
can throw old habits off.
maybe death’s hour too will send us out new-born
towards undreamed-lands, maybe life’s call to us will never find an end…
courage my heart, take leave and fare thee well!