Monday, September 19, 2011

Made in Germany 26 - Hölderlin

This is one of my favorite pictures that I took while I was living in Tübingen. It is the Hölderlinturm (tower of Hölderlin). The - supposedly mad - poet Friedrich Hölderlin spent 36 years of his life with the Zimmer family who gave him a room in this tower, until his death in June 1843, at the age of 73.

His poems have inspired many composers (among others Johannes Brahms) and also modern bands in Germany, Sweden and Finland. The language of his poems is not the easiest but it is extraordinary beautiful. Translating it into another language must be extremely difficult as it is with all poetry.

I found an English translation by David Constantine of Hölderlin's poem "Wohl geh ich täglich..." - the title of the translation is completely different.

'Another day'

Another day. I follow another path,
Enter the leafing woodland, visit the spring
Or the rocks where the roses bloom
Or search from a look-out, but nowhere

Love are you to be seen in the light of day
And down the wind go the words of our once so
Beneficent conversation...

Your beloved face has gone beyond my sight,
The music of your life is dying away
Beyond my hearing and all the songs
That worked a miracle of peace once on

My heart, where are they now? It was long ago,
So long and the youth I was has aged nor is
Even the earth that smiled at me then
The same. Farewell. Live with that word always.

For the soul goes from me to return to you
Day after day and my eyes shed tears that they
Cannot look over to where you are
And see you clearly ever again.

If you're interested in the German original, you can find it here.


soraya nulliah said...

Dear Carola-Oh! i just love the pics of your previos have captured that early Fall morning perfectly. You must be so so proud to see your little girl cross the finish line. How amazing! Also love the pic of this post too. Have never heard of this poet...but so many amazing people in our history books. How is your Etsy shop coming along It takes a lot of work and getting to know what to do...but once you get things set up , its not too bad. xxx

Diana said...

Such beautiful architecture...not a bad place to spend your last days.

Kay L. Davies said...

What a beautiful tower. And he didn't just spend his last days there, it was half his life.
At first I thought "a room with another family, for all that time: he really must have been mad" but then I realized it could be the ultimate freedom: Freedom from responsibility, freedom to write his poetry and not worry about anything else.
I've spent a lot of years being ill, and have often thought how nice it would be to have no responsibility weighing on me, adding guilt to physical pain. If the poet had an emotional or mental disorder, responsibility might have been the last thing he needed.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

windrock studio said...

Wonderful image, Carola! I would love to travel to these places you have lived and see them all "in person".

John said...

Beautiful photographs and even in the translation such wonderful words and sentiment.

Sally H said...

A beautiful photo and a very moving poem too.

Hindustanka said...

That's quite a tower!!! real one! I like German acrhitecture so much since I visited this country many many years ago...
The poem is sad and beautiful. I wish I could read the original.