Quotes By The Book of Images

“Girls, there are poets who learn from you
to say, what you, in your aloneness, are;
and they learn through you to live distantness,
as the evenings through the great stars
become accustomed to eternity.”


“And many a day's hours were like that.
As if someone fashioned my likeness somewhere
in order to torment it slowly with needles.
I felt each sharp prick of his playing,
and it was: as if a rain fell on me
in which all things change.”


“The park is high. And as out of a house
I step out of its glimmering half-light
into openness and evening. Into the wind,
the same wind that the clouds feel,
the bright rivers and the turning mills
that stand slowly grinding at the sky's edge.
Now I too am a thing held in its hand,
the smallest thing under the sky. --Look:

Is that one sky?:
Blissfully lucid blue,
into which ever purer clouds throng,
and under it all white in endless changes,
and over it that huge, thin-spun gray,
pulsing warmly as on red underpaint,
and over everything this silent radiance
of a setting sun.

Miraculous structure,
moved within itself and upheld by itself,
shaping figures, giant wings, faults
and high mountain ridges before the first star
and suddenly, there: a gate into such
distances as perhaps only birds know...”


“Mit deinen Augen, welche müde kaum
von der verbrauchten Schwelle sich befrein,
hebst du ganz langsam einen schwarzen Baum
und stellst ihn vor den Himmel: schlank, allein.
Und hast die Welt gemacht. Und sie ist groß
und wie ein Wort, das noch im Schweigen reift.
Und wie dein Wille ihren Sinn begreift,
lassen sie deine Augen zärtlich los ...”


“The Solitary

As one who has sailed across an unknown sea,
among this rooted folk I am alone;
the full days on their tables are their own,
to me the distant is reality.

A new world reaches to my very eyes,
a place perhaps unpeopled as the moon;
their slightest feelings they must analyze,
and all their words have got the common tune.

The things I brought with me from far away,
compared with theirs, look strangely not the same:
in their great country they were living things,
but here they hold their breath, as if for shame.”


“His smile was so soft and fine:
like gleaming old ivory,
like homesickness, like a Christmas snowfall
in the dark village, like turquoise
around which many pearls are fashioned,
like moonlight
on a favorite book.

-in Mädchenmelancholie (Girls' melancholy)”