Werner Bergengruen (1892-1964): Question and Answer

Translated by Timothy Adès

Frage und Antwort

“Der die Welt erfuhr,
faltig und ergraut,
Narb an Narbenspur
auf gefurchter Haut,

den die Not gehetzt,
den der Dämon trieb –
sage, was zuletzt
dir verblieb.”

“Was aus Schmerzen kam,
war Vorübergang,
Und mein Ohr vernahm
nichts als Lobgesang.”

“You who’ve strayed afar,
grey now, shrunken in,
scar on rutted scar
marks your furrowed skin:

you by cares harassed,
by compulsion driven:
what remained at last
of so much given?”

“What was born of griefs,
all was quickly passing:
and my ear perceives
only voices praising.”

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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