Franz Viktor Werfel was an Austrian-Bohemian novelist, playwright, and poet whose career spanned World War I, the Interwar period, and World War II. He is primarily known as the author of The Forty Days of Musa Dagh (1933, English tr. 1934, 2012), a novel based on events that took place during the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and The Song of Bernadette (1941), a novel about the life and visions of the French Catholic saint Bernadette Soubirous, which was made into a Hollywood film of the same name.
Born in Prague (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Werfel was the first of three children of a wealthy Jewish manufacturer of gloves and leather goods, Rudolf... more »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
Franz Werfel Poems
The Faithful One
So many play with you, You play with the many, But you never see me There in the background,
Oh the slow fall of snow, Its unending blanketing swirl! Yet my mind's eye was giving shape To what couldn't be kept hidden,
I am not dead. Through slit and crack The piercing ray only glanced me, And in the glow of self-possession I survive once more once again
Solang noch der Tatrawind leicht slowakische Blumen bestreicht, so lang wirken Mädchen sie ein in trauliche Buntstickerei'n.
Dead Friend Of My Youth
Now when you come all that way to meet me From the country house of your death, I know that you would remove your hat
You've inherited the great ram's features, The black-wooled one that bred with Jacob's herds.
One Hour Ater The Dance Of Death
I lay in the abyss, where twisting squeezing The lowest form of life pushed itself peristaltically.
The Creature's Stare
You stroke the fur of the big fine dog. Looking way down into its eyes, you speak, Pointing out for me the enormous sorrow
Dance Of Death
Death has taken me out for a swing. At first I didn't drop from the quickstep In his dance and clogged right along Until he drove the tempo up
At Old Railroad Stations
At these tiny old railroad stations, Which my own train long ago left behind, I fear for the pressing crush of people
Six Septets To Honor The Spring Of 1905
Maria Immisch was the springtime. With feeling and reverence I snatch her adored name from the underworld. When I was fifteen in '05, that year
I'm Still Just a Child
O Lord, tear me to pieces. I'm still just a child. And dare to sing And call upon you
The patient looks outs into the garden burning With Christmas* stars of vermillion fire. They flower, he feels, nicely on that bush together, But he is no longer akin to himself.
Comments about Franz Werfel
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
The Faithful One
So many play with you,
You play with the many,
But you never see me
There in the background,
By you around the clock
With my frozen-up mouth
And my iron-hard face.
Those you gladly amuse,
They make things work smoothly,
They don't get in my way.
There's always someone new,
And there's no one I shun,
For I'm the faithful one,
And you I can bet on.
Once you become old hat,
Passé, of no interest,
And no one's around you,
Then I'll turn to you,
To earn and to end,
And in my firm hands
I'll carry you over my dark sea.