Friday, May 15, 2009


Happy weekend to you all! I have some poetry to share with you today, since it's a grey wet day in Basel and there have been storms all week. From Wordsworth's beautiful poem Michael, in English and in German:

"Upon the forest-side in Grasmere Vale
There dwelt a Shepherd, Michael was his name;
An old man, stout of heart, and strong of limb.
His bodily frame had been from youth to age
Of unusual strength: his mind was keen,
Intense, and frugal, apt for all affairs,
And in his shepherd’s calling he was prompt
And watchful more than ordinary men.
Hence had he learned the meaning of all winds,
Of blasts of every tone; and oftentimes,
When others heeded not, He heard the South
Make subterraneous music, like the noise
Of bagpipers on distant Highland hills.
The Shepherd, at such warning, of his flock
Bethought him, and to himself would say,
‘The winds are now devising work for me!’
And, truly, at all times, the storm, that drives
The traveller to a shelter, summoned him
Up to the mountains: he had been alone
Amid the heart of many thousand mists,
That came to him, and left him, on the heights."


"Im Grasmere-Tal am Hang, der Forest-Side genannt wird,
ein Schäfer wohnte, Michael, so war sein Name,
ein alter Mann, beherzt und stark:
Sein Körper war von Jugend an bis hin ins hohe Alter
von einer Kraft, wie sie nicht jedem ist gegeben,
und Scharfsinn, Wachheit und Genügsamkeit auch zeichneten ihn aus;
für alles wohl geeignet, in dem Beruf als Schäfer setzte er
sich ein voll Umsicht, mehr als üblich.
So kam’s, daß er verstand der Winde Sprache, die
Bedeutung jedes ihrer Töne, und oft,
wenn andre darauf gar nicht achteten: Doch er
vernahm den Südwind, wie der heimlich musizierte,
als wenn da jemand bliese Dudelsack auf einem weit entfernten Berg.
Auf solche Warnung hin der Schäfer gleich
an seine Herde dachte und sprach zu sich:
„Die Winde wollen mir jetzt Arbeit machen!”
Wahrhaftig, jedes Mal rief ihn der Sturm,
der jeden Wanderer veranlaßt, Schutz zu suchen,
hinauf auf seine Berge: Allein war er
so tausendmal im Nebel auf den Höhen;
der Nebel kam zu ihm und ging auch wieder."


  1. Thanks! It reminds me of some of my favorite George MacDonald passages.

  2. Ah Wordsworth--I like that poem. When I was in England I hiked some hills around Grasmere--but didn't see Michael! :( BTW, Did you take that picture at the beginning of your post?! It is absolutely gorgeous!!!! Is it near Basel? I'm no expert, but it seems you could win a contest with a picture like that! Hope all is well! :) Christi

  3. Hi Christi! I didn't really know Grasemere was a real place, but I'm not surprised I suppose. I think my friend Josh actually took that picture. We were in a gondala scaling a hllside close to the Aletch Glacier (so not near Basel--way south of here). It might have been Bettmeralp? Can't remember exactly.