Tipton County, Tennessee, 1917 My great-grandfather cut down huge black oaks Whose stumps his two young sons helped him uproot, Each some Yggdrasil yielding to the strokes Of manic axes in their mad pursuit Of Paradise providing ample fruit, A man with two boys made to work as men, Their faces too soon mute and resolute, But that was life when they were eight and ten, The only life those two boys knew back then. Scenes from Early Childhood Certain things that are no more: A sing-a-long around the upright Piano on a winter’s night; Fresh milk delivered to one’s door; The corner grocery where a boy Would bring our bread out to the car (A nickel tip would still go far And make his face light up with joy); The way we called Time on the phone And he would set us back on course With words of firm yet gentle force That never left us feeling alone; House calls when we had fever, and Our family dog allowed to roam For miles and hours away from home— Almost another life and land. Calw Despite the Bischofstrasse’s strident buzz, Your timber houses stand so silent, trim, Your little square perhaps much as it was When Hesse lived here: Protestant and prim. And though the church bells’ peal is gray and grim, The pearl-green Neckar still purls, flashes past, And everyone who hears it hears a hymn: The current stirring Hermann’s Geist will last Long after they fade, those motors so absurdly fast. Lake and Waterfall By Nikolaus Lenau; translated by William Ruleman The steep, wild crags, the lake, The woods and night all round— These still and mute forms make For musings most profound. And there, with echoing thunder And dashing derring-do, The waterfall lets its wonder Rush down the rocks for you. Like that lake, you should Seal your mind in thought Then down in one bold flood Shoot like that juggernaut. See und Wasserfall Nikolaus Lenau Die Felsen schroff und wild, Der See, die Waldumnachtung Sind dir ein stilles Bild Tiefsinniger Betrachtung. Und dort, mit Donnerhall Hineilend zwischen Steinen, Läßt dir der Wasserfall Die kühne Tat erscheinen. Du sollst, gleich jenem Teich, Betrachtend dich verschließen; Dann kühn, dem Bache gleich, Zur Tat hinunterschießen. William Ruleman’s latest book is Early Poems of Hermann Hesse is available via Amazon.