…is one of my favorites, as far as german literature is concerned.
This is one of my favorite of his poems, for some reason, the english version is called “stages” whereas the original german version is titled “Steps” (as in stairs), so I’ve taken some liberties with the translation I found online, which, IMHO, does neither the beauty nor the sense of Hesse’s lyric justice).
Herman Hesse: Steps
As every flower fades and as all youth
Yields to age, each step of life blossoms.
Every wisdom and every virtue blossom
in their day and may not last forever.
Since life may summon us at every age
Be ready, heart, for parting and for new endeavors,
Be ready bravely and without remorse
To welcome other, – new ties.
In all beginnings dwells a magical force
Which guards us and helps us live.
Serenely let us move from room to room,
And let no sentiments of home detain us.
The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us
But lifts us step by step to wider spaces.
Once we’ve become native in our circle of life,
Familiar habit makes for indolence.
Only those prepared for departure and journey
Can free themselves from paralyzing familiarization.
Even the hour of our death may send
Us speeding on to newer spaces,
Life’s summons to us will never end.
So be it, heart: bid farewell without end.