Friday 26 July 2013

Translation of a poem by Gottfried Keller (1819-98)

Time does not pass

Time does not pass, it stands quite still,
It’s us that travel through; 
It is a caravan, and we
The pilgrims there on view.

A something without shape or hue,
Assuming form alone
Where you appear and disappear
Until once more you’re gone.

A drop of morning dew may glint
in sunlight, gain new gloss;
A day can be a pearl whereas
A century just dross.

Time is a parchment blank and white
And we must, come what may,
Write on it with our own red blood
Until we’re borne away.

To you, you world so wonderful,
You beauty without end,
I too my love-letter on this
Same parchment write and send.

I am so glad that I a flower
Within your wreath have been;
In thanks I’ll leave the spring still clear
And praise your wondrous sheen.

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