Saturday, August 16, 2014

Show me a man

anywhere in the whole wide world
who knows and loves clouds
more than I!

Or show me anything 
more beautiful.

They are a plaything
and comfort to the eye,
a blessing and a gift of God;
they also contain wrath
and the power of death.

They are as delicate, soft,
and gentle as the souls
of newborn babes,
as beautiful, rich,
and prodigal as good angels,
yet somber, inescapable,
and merciless
as the emissaries of death.

They hover as a silvery film,
and sail past smiling and gold-edged;
they hang poised,
tinged yellow, red, and blue.

Darkly, slowly they slink past
like murderers,
roaring head-over-heels
like mad horsemen,
drooping sadly and dreamily
in the pale heights
like melancholy hermits.

They assume the shapes
of blessed isles
and guardian angels,
resemble threatening hands,
fluttering sails,
migrating cranes.

They hover between God's heaven
and the poor earth
like beautiful likenesses
of man's every yearning
and partake of both realms-dreams
of the earth
in which the sullied soul cleaves
to the pure heaven above.

They are the eternal symbol
of all voyaging,
of every quest and yearning for home. 

And as the clouds
are suspended faintheartedly
and longingly and stubbornly
between heaven and earth,
the souls of men are suspended
faintheartedly and longingly
and stubbornly
between time and eternity.

O lovely, floating, restless clouds!
I was an ignorant child
and loved them, watched them ,
little knowing
that I would drift through life
like a cloud-voyaging,
everywhere a stranger,
hovering between time and eternity.

Ever since childhood
they have been
my dear friends and sisters .
There is not a street I cross
without our nodding
and greeting each other.

Nor did I ever forget
what they taught me then:
their shapes, their features,
their games,
their roundelays and dances,
their repose,
and their strange stories
in which elements of
heaven and earth mingled.

(Hermann Hesse - Peter Camenzind)

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