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Fidelity and love are two different...

Language: English

Fidelity and love are two different things, like a flower and a gem.
And love, like a flower, will fade, will change into something else
or it would not be flowery.

O flowers they fade because they are moving swiftly;
a little torrent of life leaps up to the summit of the stem,
gleams, turns over round the bend of the parabola of curved flight, sinks, and is gone,
like a comet curving into the invisible.

O flowers they are all the time travelling
like comets, and they come into our ken
for a day, for two days, and withdraw, slowly vanish again.

And we, we must take them on the wind, and let them go.
Embalmed flowers are not flowers, immortelles are not flowers;
flowers are just a motion, a swift motion, a coloured gesture;
that is their loveliness. And that is love.

But a gem is different. It lasts so much longer than we do
so much much much longer
that it seems to last forever.

Yet we know it is flowing away
as flowers are, and we are, only slower.
The wonderful slow flowing of the sapphire!

All flows, and every flow is related to every other flow.
Flowers and sapphires and us, diversely streaming.

In the old days, when sapphires were breathed upon and brought forth
during the wild orgasms of chaos
time was much slower, when the rocks came forth.
It took aeons to make a sapphire, aeons for it to pass away.

And a flower it takes a summer.

And man and woman are like the earth, that brings forth flowers
in summer, and love, but underneath is rock.
Older than flowers, older than ferns, [older than foraminiferae]1
older than plasm altogether is the soul of a man underneath.

And when, throughout all the wild orgasms of love
slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, once-more-molten rocks
of two human hearts, [two ancient rocks,]1 a man's heart and a woman's,
that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust,
the sapphire of fidelity.

The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love.

Translation(s): GER

List of language codes

O. Kortekangas sets stanzas 1, 10-12

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Kortekangas.

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "Eine Blüte und ein Edelstein", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2015-09-28 16:21:23
Line count: 37
Word count: 354

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Eine Blüte und ein Edelstein

Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Treue und Liebe sind so unterschiedlich wie eine Blüte und ein Edelstein.
Liebe wird wie eine Blüte welken, wird sich in etwas anderes verwandeln,
oder sie wäre nicht blütenreich.









Mann und Frau sind wie die Erde, die im Sommer Blüten hervorbringt,
und Liebe, doch darunter ist Fels.
Älter als Blumen und Farne,
älter als alles Plasma ist des Menschen Seele in der Tiefe.

Und wenn sich langsam aus all den wilden Orgasmen der Liebe
ein Edelstein formt im uralten, neu aufgeschmolzenen Gestein
zweier Menschenherzen, der eines Mannes und einer Frau,
dann ist dies der Kristall des Friedens, der langsam wachsende, feste Edelstein des Vertrauens,
der Saphir der Treue.

Das Kleinod gemeinsamen Friedens, hervorgebracht aus dem wilden Chaos der Liebe.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

Note: this is a translation of Kortekangas's setting.


  • Translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2015 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann. Contact:
    <BKottmann (AT)>

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on


Text added to the website: 2015-09-28.
Last modified: 2015-09-28 16:24:05
Line count: 21
Word count: 127