* * *

Stay, Joy! Whither are you racing?
«To a heart in love!»
Whither, Youth, your steps retracing?
«To a heart in love!»

Whither, Strength? And whither, Courage?
«To a heart in love!»
Whither, Grief, in such a hurry?
«To a heart in love!»

Never knowing what the day will bring us.
We awake to laughter at first glow.
Noon moves near: we curse and cross our fingers.
Look, how long the shadows swiftly grow!

Strength and courage—qualities we treasure—
Vanish as the daylight… We remain
With maturity to grace our leisure,
Like a heavy cloak donned after rain.

* * *

Dying men, who know they’ve only
Five more minutes in the sun,
Often make a fuss unholy,
As if they’d an age to run!

Mountains ponder the persistence
Of such fools, who waste their breath
And themselves weep in the distance
As if they were facing death.

* * *

There are three songs people treasure,
Songs to which they smile, or cry:
First, the song of sheerest pleasure,
Is a mother’s lullaby.

Second is the song that, stroking
Her dead son’s cold cheek and breast.
A mother sings, from sorrow choking…
Third and last—come all the rest.

* * *

Should I ever turn to metal,
Money of me do not mint!
In a purse I’d hate to settle,
Setting greedy eyes a-glint.

If fate wills this transformation,
Forge a dagger out of me:
Sheathed, I’ll relish meditation,
Roused, I’ll rout the enemy.

* * *

Like steam-locos we arrive,
Puff awhile, then off we go
From the railway station, Life,
With its bustling to and fro.

All too soon the time shall come
When I’ll have to glide away.
Red light, to the maximum
My departure time delay!