Hölderlin’s Poetry Translated (I)

In late 2014, I became fascinated by Friedrich Höderlin’s latest poetry that he wrote after 1807, when he was declared insane. In that time, I translated quite a few of his poems into English, trying to preserve rhythm, rhymes and meaning, sometimes steering away from the original text in order to preserve their meaning as I perceive it. Thus, they are not actual word-by-word “translations”, but rather show my perception and interpretation of the poems, sticking close to what I perceive as their meanings.

Autumn (Der Herbst, Friedrich Hölderlin)
Translated by Alexander Tuschinski

The myths that float away from here
of spirits that have been and will return
they turn to mankind’s greyish sheer
the passing time can make us learn.

Past’s images – not left alone
by nature, as the days turn grey,
fall follows summer, puts it down
rain’s spirits rule the night and day.

In a moment so much ended,
the farmer on his plow observes,
the year is joyfully disbanded
such images a life deserves.

Earth’s round crust adjorned with rocks,
not like clouds that fade away.
Golden days’ quick-moving clocks,
no soul can find a word to say.