Rambler in Late Autumn – translation of a poem by Hermann Hesse

Through a web of branches in the naked wood,

The white of first snow falls from grey skies,

And falls and falls. The world is full of silence!

No leaves rustle, no birds in the trees,

Only white and grey and silence, silence.


The rambler, too, who once wandered

Through green and bright colours with lute and song,

Has become mute and tired of joy,

Tired of rambling, tired of singing.

A shower from the cool grey heights,

Sleep flutters down on him, and snow

Silently falls and falls…


Yet distant spring calls

Forth memories and the withered happiness

Of summer with pale drifting images:

Cherry blossom shimmering through a blue,

A sweet bright blue –

With delicate trembling of its wings,

A butterfly, brown and gold, hangs from a stalk –

Out of a balmy, humid summer-night’s forest

Comes wistful, long drawn-out birdsong…

The rambler nods at his fond memories:

How lovely it was! And something flutters

From that former time, gleams and expires:

A bittersweet glimpse through a lover’s eyes –

A thunderstorm in the night,

Lightning and a gale in the reeds –

The sound of a flute from a stranger’s window in the evening –

The harsh cry of a jay in the forest in the morning…

Hermann Hesse

Image of Hesse found on www.swissinfo.ch

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