Gottfried Benn was born at Mansfeld, Prussia, the son of a Lutheran minister. The poet's earliest influences were the stern discipline of his father, whom he grew to hate, and the gentle romanticism of his Swiss mother, whom he adored. Eldest son in a large family, he entertained his brothers and sisters with fairy tales of his own creation. Although interested in a literary career, he studied medicine and graduated with honors from the Kaiser Wilhelm Academy for Military Doctors.
His mother's death from cancer prompted Benn, then 26, to compose his first major poetic effort, Morgue (1912) . This work emphasizes nature's indifference to human values and is characterized by melancholy ... more »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
Comments about Gottfried Benn
Take the forsythias deep within, each leaf,
and when the lilac blossoms on the lawn,
mix it, too, with your blood and joy and grief,
the dark soil that you depend upon.
Sluggish days. All have been gotten through.
And if you do not ask: the start or close,
then perhaps the hours will carry you
as distantly as June's unfolding rose.
- translated from the German by Leo Yankevich
first appeared in 'Trinacria'