A Dark Poem from Eichendorff

 “Of all nature’s scenes it is the wood in which all of her secrets and all of her favors are found together.”- Bogumil Goltz

  Caspar David Friedrich

 Zwielicht – (“Twilight”) Joseph von Eichendorff  (German Romantic Poet)

Dämmrung will die Flügel spreiten,
Schaurig rühren sich die Bäume,
Wolken ziehn wie schwere Träume –
Was will dieses Grau’n bedeuten?

Hast ein Reh du lieb vor andern,
Laß es nicht alleine grasen,
Jäger ziehn im Wald und blasen,
Stimmen hin und wieder wandern.

Hast du einen Freund hienieden,
Trau ihm nicht zu dieser Stunde,
Freundlich wohl mit Aug’ und Munde,
Sinnt er Krieg im tück’schen Frieden.

Was heut müde gehet unter,
Hebt sich morgen neu geboren.
Manches bleibt in Nacht verloren –
Hüte dich, bleib wach und munter!

Twilight begins to spread its wings,
The trees stir ominously,
Clouds come like heavy dreams —
What does this gloominess mean?

If you have a favorite little deer,
Do not let it graze alone;
Hunters roam the forest and blow horns,
Voices wandering in and out.

 If you have a friend down here below,
 Do not trust him in this Hour;
 He might he seem friendly in eye and mouth,
 But he makes plans for war in treacherous peace.

 What today descends wearily down,
 Will lift itself tomorrow born anew.
 Many things at night go lost–
 Guard yourself–be awake and alert!


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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love that picture. So mysterious! So is the poem, fits it perfectly!

  2. Sounds like someone in the grips of paranoia.

  3. Hi Abby,

    I’m glad you like the painting. I did try to find one that would fit the poem. 🙂

  4. Heya Ralfast,

    Interesting thought. Is the narrator’s fears real or imagined?

  5. Awesome poem, so much better in German 😛

  6. Dark is definitely the word for that poem. I don’t know if it’s paranoia or depression, maybe both?

    Cool painting, but what is that thing on the man’s head? 🙂

  7. Heya Chazz,

    I thought the darkness of this poem would be your thing. 😉

    And yes, it loses a lot of its power in the translatin. Not to mention that the rhythm is awkward.

  8. DD,

    I’d probably go with both.

    And hee hee, regarding the painting, I think that was the fashionable hat of the day. 😉

  9. darkness is always my thing

  10. Wonderful painting, and I quite like the poem, too.

    I like the line “Many things at night go lost –”

    Gave me a shiver!


  11. Oy. Definitely some depression there. Love “clouds come like heavy dreams-”

    Beautiful painting! (in spite of silly hat) 🙂

  12. Hi Em,

    I love that line, too. It has a subtle creepiness so fitting to the whole piece.

  13. Amy,

    heh. So we can gather that particular hat shall not come back into fashion in the near future? 😉

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