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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Robert Walser: Sentiment


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we used to have summers: photo by josefeggshunting, 17 April 2014


Whatever it was in plain sight
gave me fresh heart, if, nonetheless
it could not, being nature, give me rest,
soon it will be far away, outside.

I'll go without it then, this glow,
this ringing of the sounds and of the colors.
and with a passion sing of it. Somehow, as if
what's missing left me with a mystery,
its absence makes me love it twice over.

Once you have seen it with your inward eye,
a beautiful thing spreads beauty all around.
To dote on it, or want it back again, is wrong.
It walks along with you, kept well in mind.


Robert Walser (1878-1956): Sentiment (October 1927) from Thirty Poems, selected and translated by Christopher Middleton, 2012





murder of seagulls: photo by josefeggshunting, 17 April 2014

3 comments:

Nora said...

Oh, that's lovely.

Wooden Boy said...

I'll go without it then, this glow,
this ringing of the sounds and of the colors,
and with a passion sing of it.

Joy without possession (the only proper joy).

TC said...

Walser's deep lightness continually surprises, always at once playful and serious, parodic and sincere, often conventional in "sentiment" yet eerily dissonant; for me, reading his poems is like watching a kind of balancing act, the mysterious uncertainties of tone (often dictated by the drive to rhyme, in his originals) coming to seem, if not deliberate, then so much a part of the general ambivalence as to suggest this jarring effect may indicate not a weakness in the poems but a particular, unique brand of poetic logic.