Friday, 17 May 2013

The Funeral

At the funeral of a dear friend, an elderly spinster, I was asked to read something.

First came Heinrich Heine's LXXXVII from DIE HEIMKEHR 1823 - 1824 (The Homecoming 1823-1824). My translation is directly below the original.

Der Tod, das ist die kühle Nacht,
Das Leben ist der schwüle Tag.
Es dunkelt schon, mich schläfert,
Der Tag hat mich müd gemacht.

Über mein Bett erhebt sich ein Baum,
Drin singt die junge Nachtigall;
Sie singt von lauter Liebe,
Ich hör es sogar in Traum.

Death, that is the cool night.
Life is the warm day.
It is dark now, and I will sleep;
The day has made me tired.

Over my bed there is a tree 

Where a young nightingale
Sings loudly of love;
I hear it as in a dream. 

This was followed by Raymond Carver's Late Fragment.

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

1920    "It is dark now, and I will sleep"    2013

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