Friedrich Holderlin

(20 March 1770 – 6 June 1843 / Germany)

When I Was A Boy - Poem by Friedrich Holderlin

When I was a boy
a god would often rescue me
from the shouting and violence of humans.
Then, safe and well, I would play
with the meadow flowers,
and heaven's breezes
would play with me.

And as you delight the heart
of plants, stretching their tender
arms toward you,
Father Helios,
so you delighted my heart,
and I was your beloved,
holy Luna, just like Endymion!

All you faithful
friendly gods!
I wish you knew
how my soul loved you!

Naturally I couldn't call you
by name then, nor did you use
mine, as humans do, as if
they really knew each other.

But I was better acquainted with you
than I ever was with humans.
I knew the stillness of the Aether:
I never understood the words of men.

The euphony of the rustling
meadow was my education;
among flowers I learned to love.

I grew up
in the arms of the gods.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 13, 2010

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