gershon hepner

Rookie - 10 Points (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Plum Tree - Poem by gershon hepner

He held her tight beneath the tree
on which in summer there are plums,
and in the spring the blossom comes
to prove the world of winter free.
They chopped the tree down, and she, too,
was no more seen by him. All summer
he thought about her, but he knew
she’d not return, depressed, and dumber
than that plum tree when they chopped
it down, but wondered where she might
have gone, and if her love had stopped,
his own not out of mind or sight.

Inspired by a poem by Bertolt Brecht which is read bywhich Stasi Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler in The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen, after he has removed it from the apartment of playwright Georg Dreyman, who is suspected of pro-Western sympathies:


On a certain day in the blue-moon month of September

Beneath a young plum tree, quietly

I held her there, my quiet, pale beloved

In my arms just like a graceful dream.

And over us in the beautiful summer sky

There was a cloud on which my gaze rested

It was very white and so immensely high

And when I looked up, it had disappeared.

Since that day many, many months

Have quietly floated down and past.

No doubt the plum trees were chopped down

And you ask me: what's happened to my love?

So I answer you: I can't remember.

And still, of course, I know what you mean

But I honestly can't recollect her face

I just know: there was a time I kissed it.

And that kiss too I would have long forgotten

Had not the cloud been present there

That I still know and always will remember

It was so white and came from on high.

Perhaps those plum trees still bloom

And that woman now may have had her seventh child

But that cloud blossomed just a few minutes

And when I looked up, it had disappeared in the wind.
-Bertolt Brecht, “Remembrances of Marie A., “ in Die Hauspostille (1927) (S.H. transl.)

(Bertolt Brecht, Gesammelte Werke in acht Bänden, vol.4, p.232)


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, December 17, 2009

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