GERMAN POETRY – Eduard Moerike

poem1-1Eduard Moerike was Lutheran pastor and German poet, born near Stuttgart, in 1804 inside an September day. His first published work was the novel Maler Nolten. Poet, novelist, clergyman, and scholar, he is not only one of the great German poets, but also a writer who deeply inspired composers. His extraordinary handling of sounds (and rhythmic patterns), evokes the magical fluidity of a musical composition. His poems are mostly lyrics, often humorous. They are expressed in a simple, natural language. He worked with free rhythms, sonnets, regular stanza forms, and everything he wrote has its own distinctive flavour. All his life, he suffered from psychosomatic illnesses, maybe intensified by an unconscious conflict between humanist aspirations and church dogmas. Many poems of his have been set to music. In 1834, he become pastor of Cleversulzbach, the remote Württemberg village. He married in 1851, and settled in Stuttgart, where he died in 1875.poems2-1

DEPARTURENow the coach is ready to carry me off, and the post horn sounds one last time. Tell me, why is the fourth fellow so long in coming? Call him, he shouldn’t be staying behind! Meanwhile a brisk summer rain is falling. But count to a hundred, it is over. Hardly long enough to drench the hot dust. Even so, this last break is welcome. Coolness and fragrance fill the open square, and on the houses surrounding flowers appear at windows, one here one there. Finally the young fellow arrives. Hurry! Get on! Then the coach is off. But look, on the wet pavement, in front of the post office where it stood, a dry spot it has left behind, long and wide, see the wheel marks, and where the horses waited. But over there in that quaint house, where the lad lingered so long a girl standing at the window, looking at the dry spot now, kerchief in her hand, sobbing. Is she taking it so hard? No doubt. But her tears will not last long. Girls’ eyes, you know, dry ever so quickly, and before the cobbles at the market, have been dried by the sun, you might even hear that lassie laughing.


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