Hermann Hesse

(2 July 1877 – 9 August 1962 / Calw, Württemberg)

At Night On The High Seas


At night, when the sea cradles me
And the pale star gleam
Lies down on its broad waves,
Then I free myself wholly
From all activity and all the love
And stand silent and breathe purely,
Alone, alone cradled by the sea
That lies there, cold and silent, with a thousand lights.
Then I have to think of my friends
And my gaze sinks into their gazes
And I ask each one, silent, alone:
"Are you still mine"
Is my sorrow a sorrow to you, my death a death?
Do you feel from my love, my grief,
Just a breath, just an echo?"
And the sea peacefully gazes back, silent,
And smiles: no.
And no greeting and now answer comes from anywhere.


Translated by James Wright


Submitted by Holt

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Dennis Green (8/17/2011 10:30:00 PM)

    This is a wonderful piece. I just love it so much. Maybe at first view it conveys isolation, loss, sadness - but as a comment on the depth of ones inner self and the sometimes fleeting ways of the world's 'white noise' is incomparable... (Report) Reply

  • Martin Janis (3/16/2010 11:36:00 AM)

    My guess is that the last line contains a typographical error and should read:

    and no greeting and no answer comes from anywhere (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »

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