My Dad’s Version

log and fern

The Magic of New Beginnings

 This is my father’s translation of “stages” by Hermann Hesse. He called it the magic of new beginnings. He had this poem on a wall above his desk and it was in German. I asked for a translation and this is what I got. I really like it better than the original!  It’s shorter, more to the point, and I like the words he chose, and the things that he left out! That’s my Dad. Always an original. I’m missing him lately. I took this picture in NY, when I was visiting family. It seems perfect for the poem. And it reminds me of how much my Dad used to love reading and how much he shared with us! When he really liked a book, we all got to hear about it. I feel his presence a lot right now.  Grief has many stages I guess. And when you lose someone so important, I don’t think you ever really get over it. You just become more used to it. Here is his version:

As every blossom fades and every youth yields to age, so life at every stage blossoms and also every wisdom and every virtue at their own time and nothing must last forever.

At every stage of life the heart must be ready to bid farewell and begin anew to form new relationships bravely and without mourning.

And every beginning is imbued with a magic which protects and helps us to live. Thus we shall serenely move from space to space without being bound to one place as a permanent home.

The spirit of the universe will not fetter us and narrow us down.  It desires to raise us step by step and widen our horizon. As soon as we have become accustomed to a particular circle of life, we are in danger of slackening (enervation).

Only he who is ready to pull up his tents and journey to new destinations will escape paralyzing habits. Even in the hour of death, we will perhaps youthfully journey to new spaces. The call of life to us will never end… Boldly then, my heart take leave and become whole.

By naturerestoresme Posted in Poetry

6 comments on “My Dad’s Version

  1. Yes it is Maryse. And it was soon after I received this translation that he passed away. I think I love the title best of all, it’s just so my Dad. Magic. He had a wonderful imagination and told us endless stories as kids, as did his mother (my grandmother). They had a special vision of this world, in spite of going through world wars and losing a son and a brother. Their lives give me hope.

    • There is both a warmth and richness to this photo that I really enjoy. It makes you feel that you’re there and all you have to do is reach out to touch it. And it truly does seem to be a wonderful match to the poem. As the dying brown leaves bow to give way to their sprouting counterparts in one rhythmic and magical dance. How lovely. Thank you…

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