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Tellings of Beads: Five Last Songs

Word count: 527

Song Cycle by Walter Arlen, né Aptowitzer (b. 1920)

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1. I thought that my voyage [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Bangla (Bengali)

Translation(s): GER

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


I thought that my voyage had come to its end 
at the last limit of my power, - 
that the path before me was closed, 
that provisions were exhausted 
and the time come to take shelter 
in a silent obscurity.

But I find that thy will knows no end in me. 
And when old words die out on the tongue, 
new melodies break forth from the heart; 
and where the old tracks are lost, 
new country is revealed with its wonders.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Early in the day [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Bangla (Bengali)

Translation(s): FRE FRE GER IRI

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • IRI Irish (Gaelic) [singable] (Gabriel Rosenstock) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Early in the day it was whispered 
that we should sail in a boat, only thou and I, 
and never a soul in the world 
would know of this our pilgrimage 
to no country and to no end.

In that shoreless ocean, 
at thy silently listening smile 
my songs would swell in melodies, 
free as waves, free from all bondage of words.

Is the time not come yet? 
Are there works still to do? 
Lo, the evening has come down upon the shore 
and in the fading light 
the seabirds come flying to their nests.

Who knows when the chains will be off, 
and the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset, 
vanish into the night?


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. This is my delight [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Bangla (Bengali)

Translation(s): DUT GER GER

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  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


This is my delight, thus to wait 
and watch at the wayside
where shadow chases light 
and the rain comes 
in the wake of the summer.

Messengers, with tidings from unknown skies, 
greet me and speed along the road. 
My heart is glad within, 
and the breath of the passing breeze is sweet.

From dawn till dusk 
I sit here before my door, 
and I know that of a sudden 
the happy moment will arrive when I shall see.

In the meanwhile I smile 
and I sing all alone. 
In the meanwhile the air is filling 
with the perfume of promise.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The day is no more [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Bangla (Bengali)

Translation(s): DUT FRE FRE GER GER GER ITA SWE

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  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


The day is no more, 
the shadow is upon the earth. 
It is time that I go to the stream 
to fill my pitcher.

The evening air is eager 
with the sad music of the water. 
Ah, it calls me out into the dusk. 
In the lonely lane there is no passer-by, 
the wind is up, 
the ripples are rampant in the river.

I know not if I shall come back home. 
I know not whom I shall chance to meet. 
There at the fording in the little boat 
the unknown man plays upon his lute.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. My Song [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Bangla (Bengali)

Translation(s): GER

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This song of mine will wind its music around you,
my child, like the fond arms of love.

The song of mine will touch your forehead
like a kiss of blessing.

When you are alone it will sit by your side and
whisper in your ear, when you are in the crowd
it will fence you about with aloofness.

My song will be like a pair of wings to your dreams,
it will transport your heart to the verge of the unknown.

It will be like the faithful star overhead
when dark night is over your road.

My song will sit in the pupils of your eyes,
and will carry your sight into the heart of things.

And when my voice is silenced in death,
my song will speak in your living heart.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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