Original Texts

If Thou Speakest Not
Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali 19

If thou speakest not I will fill my heart with thy silence and endure it. I will keep still and wait like the night with starry vigil and its head bent low with patience.

The morning will surely come, the darkness will vanish, and thy voice pour down in golden streams breaking through the sky.

Then thy words will take wing in songs from every one of my birds’ nests, and thy melodies will break forth in flowers in all my forest groves.

Love’s Sudden Touch
Rabindranath Tagore

Like my heart’s pain that has long missed its meaning, the sun’s rays robed in dark hide themselves under the ground.

Like my heart’s pain at love’s sudden touch, they change their veil at spring’s call and come out in the carnival of colours, in flowers and leaves.

When the Heart is Hard and Parched
Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali 39

When the heart is hard and parched up, come upon me with a shower of mercy.

When grace is lost from life, come with a burst of song.

When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides shutting me out from beyond, come to me, my lord of silence, with thy peace and rest.

When my beggardly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner, break open the door, my king, and come with the ceremony of a king.

When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust, O thou holy one, thou wakeful, come with thy light and thy thunder.

Thou Art the Sky
Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali 67

Thou art the sky and thou art the nest as well.

O thou beautiful, there in the nest it is thy love that encloses the soul with colours and sounds and odours.

There comes the morning with the golden basket in her right hand bearing the wreath of beauty, silently to crown the earth.

And there comes the evening over the lonely meadows deserted by herds, through trackless paths, carrying cool draughts of peace in her golden pitcher from the western ocean of rest.

But there, where spreads the infinite sky for the soul to take her flight in, reigns the stainless white radiance. There is no day nor night, nor form nor colour, and never, never a word.

Request – (Bitte)
Hilde Domin

We are dipped
and washed with the waters of the Fludde,
we are soaked
up to the skin of the heart.

The wish for landscape
on this side of the border of tears
is useless,
the wish to hold onto the spring of blossoms,
the wish to be spared,
is useless

What is of use is the request,
that at sunrise the dove bring
a twig of the olive tree.
That the fruit be as colorful as the blossom,
That even the petals of the rose on the ground
form a shining crown.

And that we be released out of the flood,
out of the lion pit and the fiery oven
evermore burnt and evermore healed
ever anew
to ourselves.

Don’t Get Tired (Miracle)
Hilde Domin

Don’t get tired
But hold out your hand
To the miracle
Softly
As if it were a bird

The Hilde Domin poems are translated from the original German by Burkhard Weber and Deborah Langstaff, and were enthusiastically approved by the author. However, there are strict rights on these poems, and they should not be further distributed or reproduced until the translators have permission from the publisher. 

For more information on these poems, please contact Deborah Langstaff.