Tuesday, March 01, 2011

One Incomprehensible Name

from When I Was a Boy
By Friedrich Holderlin

When I was a boy
A god often rescued me
From the shouts and the rods of men
And I played among trees and flowers
Secure in their kindness

....you delighted the heart in me

Father Helios, and like Endymion
I was your favourite,
Moon. O all

You friendly
And faithful gods
I wish you could know
How my soul has loved you.

Even though when I called to you then
It was not yet with names, and you
Never named me as people do
As though they knew one another

I knew you better
Than I have ever known them.
I understood the stillness above the sky
But never the words of men.

--Translated by David Constantine

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