Three Things – Lilies

From the Chinese-German Book of Hours and Seasons

By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

I

White as lilies, purest candles

Like the stars, now gently bowing,

Red-rimmed from their hearts’ centres

Radiance of affection glowing.

So the earliest Narcissi

Flower in garden rows, and maybe

In their goodness they know why

And for whom they’re neatly waiting.

II

Twilight sinks down from above us,

Swiftly all the near is far:

But first shining high above us

Radiant is the evening star!

Everything is drifting vaguely,

Mist steals upwards to the height:

And the still lake mirrors darkly

Black abysses of the night.

Now in all the eastern distance

I suspect moon’s gleam and glow,

Slender willow’s trailing branches

Dally with the neighbouring flow.

Through the play of moving shadows

Trembling lunar magic shines,

And a soothing coolness follows,

To the heart now, through the eyes.

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