Franz Viktor Werfel was an Austrian-Bohemian novelist, playwright, and poet whose career spanned World War I, the Interwar period, and World War II. He is primarily known as the author of The Forty Days of Musa Dagh (1933, English tr. 1934, 2012), a novel based on events that took place during the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and The Song of Bernadette (1941), a novel about the life and visions of the French Catholic saint Bernadette Soubirous, which was made into a Hollywood film of the same name.
Born in Prague (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Werfel was the first of three children of a wealthy Jewish manufacturer of gloves and leather goods, Rudolf... more »
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Franz Werfel Poems
I am not dead. Through slit and crack The piercing ray only glanced me, And in the glow of self-possession I survive once more once again
The Faithful One
So many play with you, You play with the many, But you never see me There in the background,
One Hour Ater The Dance Of Death
I lay in the abyss, where twisting squeezing The lowest form of life pushed itself peristaltically.
Oh the slow fall of snow, Its unending blanketing swirl! Yet my mind's eye was giving shape To what couldn't be kept hidden,
Solang noch der Tatrawind leicht slowakische Blumen bestreicht, so lang wirken Mädchen sie ein in trauliche Buntstickerei'n.
The Creature's Stare
You stroke the fur of the big fine dog. Looking way down into its eyes, you speak, Pointing out for me the enormous sorrow
Dance Of Death
Death has taken me out for a swing. At first I didn't drop from the quickstep In his dance and clogged right along Until he drove the tempo up
Dead Friend Of My Youth
Now when you come all that way to meet me From the country house of your death, I know that you would remove your hat
You've inherited the great ram's features, The black-wooled one that bred with Jacob's herds.
At Old Railroad Stations
At these tiny old railroad stations, Which my own train long ago left behind, I fear for the pressing crush of people
Six Septets To Honor The Spring Of 1905
Maria Immisch was the springtime. With feeling and reverence I snatch her adored name from the underworld. When I was fifteen in '05, that year
I'M Still Just A Child
O Lord, tear me to pieces. I'm still just a child. And dare to sing And call upon you
The patient looks outs into the garden burning With Christmas* stars of vermillion fire. They flower, he feels, nicely on that bush together, But he is no longer akin to himself.
Comments about Franz Werfel
I am not dead. Through slit and crack
The piercing ray only glanced me,
And in the glow of self-possession
I survive once more once again.
Through open shutters with waves surges
A blue that does not look blue to me.
Like a baby the air's nursed itself
Full of the sun's milk that melts down.
On the sea a steamer's whistle
Blows like a rutting stag.
From mountains flashes a secret army's
I am not dead. I'd like to shout loud
On this day of who gets mercy,
That today each of my sails fills
Themselves once more ...