A poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
How incredible that you can juxtapose the rebuilding of Berlin with the wresting of America from her foundation of promise and hope. Indeed, it is appropriate to go back there and bask in the hope that facing your sin can provide. However, being old, I feel that I am unlikely to live to see America do the same. The poem says it all, love your version, and may it keep me grounded in rough seas. BTW, may the spirit of Sophie Scholl revisit Berlin as well….
You have surpassed even yourself with this post, Greg. When you can top Longfellow, well, what next?
This is beautiful, dear beautiful Greg.
It was a delight seeing you the other night on The Five 8. Nice to see that you're more than a head, shoulders, and a hand wrapped around a glass.
I loved this. Keep going.
Love this entire post, especially your version of the poem.
Ich weiss nicht, wo ich gehen will
Der Pfad ist lang, dann bin ich still
Berlin obviously brings out the best in you, Greg! BRILLIANT first paragraph that I read three times before moving on. Germany has done a good job of atoning for THAT S.O.B., but there is always more that can be done, and they seem to know it, even unto today when they hesitated to get involved in Ukraine. "Oh! War? No, thank you."
America's atonement will take much longer and have to be much deeper, and I fear, as another poster said, that I won't live to see even the beginning of it. Where, in the future, will a writer (or poet) go to bear witness to the "place where it started," and where lightning would never strike twice? New York City? Washington D.C.? Mar-a-Lago? Harrison, Arkansas? Who knows? There are many places where it could have been said to have started. Our BIGGEST problem is that we're still in it, and any moves now towards reconciliation with the world seem suspect. It will come -- it MUST -- but not soon. I think I'd rather be in Berlin too.
Greg, I love your version! Safe travels back.
Great rendition of the Goethe and as usual, connecting the dots.
One of my other Goethe favorites is Erlkönig. Here are the first and last verses of eight :
Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?
Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind;
Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm,
Er faßt ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm.
Dem Vater grauset's; er reitet geschwind,
Er hält in Armen das ächzende Kind,
Erreicht den Hof mit Mühe und Not;
In seinen Armen, das Kind war tot.
Who rides, so late, through night and wind?
It is the father with his child.
He has the boy well in his arm,
He holds him safely, he keeps him warm.
It horrifies the father; he swiftly rides on,
He holds the moaning child in his arms,
Reaches the farm with great difficulty;
In his arms, the child was dead.
Goethe's poem has no connection to the situation where our democracy is slipping away. Yet I think it's applicable in so many ways. The father who fails to see the evil Erl-King trying to get his young son until it's too late. The Erl-King: all who would kill our republic for their own personal gain. And the young son, our very fragile democracy.
My stab at Jet Lag:
At once both here and there,
Connected by hours of
Very fast moving air.
Time has lost all meaning.
Now you can add travel agent to your many talents; sad to think that considering our alternatives is what we've come to when I had such momentary hope after November 2020 that we could rest. This analysis is a treat...enjoy and revel in the German humility, but we need you stateside too!