Poem: Mondnacht

Very seldom do I stumble across poetry that really touches me. Mondnacht (moon night) is one such poem. I saw it as a youth, memorized it, thanks to a persistent, and at the time loathed, German teacher. I wrote it into the cover of a book some time later. Then I completely forgot about it. Last week, I happened upon the book that lay dormant in a box for 40 years, opened the cover, and there it was. It touched me deeply once again.

[I cannot convey this in English. If you can read German, may it lift your soul and fly away with you.]


Es war, als hätt’ der Himmel
Die Erde still geküsst,
Dass sie im Blütenschimmer
Von ihm nun träumen müsst’.

Die Luft ging durch die Felder,
Die Ähren wogten sacht,
Es rauschten leis’ die Wälder,
So sternklar war die Nacht.

Und meine Seele spannte
Weit ihre Flügel aus,
Flog durch die stillen Lande,
Als flöge sie nach Haus.

–Josef von Eichendorff

Addendum Jan 8, 2017 – a German friend, whom I shared this post with (WI), reminded me that there was a musical version by Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856). I found this excellent 1974 recording by baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925 – 2012), who passed away in 2012 at age 86.

I have, in these pages, often decried Germans and the harm and hurt they have collectively caused the world in the 20th century. To be fair, they have also immensely contributed to the world’s treasures in literature, poetry and music. All three are represented in the musical rendition of Mondnacht above. Enjoy!