(1861 - 10 September 1889 / London)

On Hearing Of A Death

We lack all knowledge of this parting. Death
does not deal with us. We have no reason
to show death admiration, love or hate;
his mask of feigned tragic lament gives us

a false impression. The world's stage is still
filled with roles which we play. While we worry
that our performances may not please,
death also performs, although to no applause.

But as you left us, there broke upon this stage
a glimpse of reality, shown through the slight
opening through which you dissapeared: green,
evergreen, bathed in sunlight, actual woods.

We keep on playiing, still anxious, our difficult roles
declaiming, accompanied by matching gestures
as required. But your presence so suddenly
removed from our midst and from our play, at times

overcomes us like a sense of that other
reality: yours, that we are so overwhelmed
and play our actual lives instead of the performance,
forgetting altogehter the applause.

Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming

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Comments (20)

Lovely descriptions cause the reader to feel almost as though they were present in the scene she poetically paints.
Beautiful poem having touching expression. I appreciate this poem very much.
A moment frozen in time, I can almost smell it. I think I know what her fear was but there is no clue in this verse.
Such beautiful write. Instantaneous brings peace to weary heart.
From unrest in grey misty town - to peace and hope. The rhythmic pace of a poem is very dynamic and bold.
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