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Um zu begreifen, wie sie damals war

Language: German (Deutsch)

Um zu begreifen, wie sie damals war,
mußt du dich erst an eine Stelle rufen,
wo Säulen in dir wirken; wo du Stufen
nachfühlen kannst; wo Bogen voll Gefahr
den Abgrund eines Raumes überbrücken,
der in dir blieb, weil er aus solchen Stücken
getürmt war, daß du sie nicht mehr aus dir
ausheben kannst: du rissest dich denn ein.
Bist du so weit, ist alles in dir Stein,
Wand, Aufgang, Durchblick, Wölbung - so probier
den großen Vorhang, den du vor dir hast,
ein wenig wegzuzerrn mit beiden Händen:
da glänzt es von ganz hohen Gegenständen
und übertrifft dir Atem und Getast.
Hinauf, hinab, Palast steht auf Palast,
Geländer strömen breiter aus Geländern
und tauchen oben auf an solchen Rändern,
daß dich, wie du sie siehst, der Schwindel faßt.
Dabei macht ein Gewölk aus Räucherständern
die Nähe trüb; aber das Fernste zielt
in dich hinein mit seinen graden Strahlen -,
und wenn jetzt Schein aus klaren Flammenschalen
auf langsam nahenden Gewändern spielt:
wie hältst du's aus?

Sie aber kam und hob
den Blick, um diese alles anzuschauen.
(Ein Kind, ein kleines Mädchen zwischen Frauen.)
Dann stieg sie ruhig, voller Selbstvertrauen,
dem Aufwand zu, der sich verwöhnt verschob:
So sehr war alles, was die Menschen bauen,
schon überwogen von dem Lob

in ihrem Herzen. Von der Lust
sich hinzugeben an die innern Zeichen:
Die Eltern meinten, sie hinaufzureichen,
der Drohende mit der Juwelenbrust
empfing sie scheinbar: Doch sie ging durch alle,
klein wie sie war, aus jeder Hand hinaus
und in ihr Los, das, höher als die Halle,
schon fertig war, und schwerer als das Haus.

Translation(s): ENG FRE ITA

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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):

  • ENG English (Knut W. Barde) , title 1: "The Presentation of Mary in the Temple", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , title 1: "La presentazione di Maria al Tempio", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Fran├žais) (Stéphane Goldet) (Pierre de Rosamel) , title 1: "La présentation de Marie", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:46
Line count: 39
Word count: 265

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The Presentation of Mary in the Temple

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

 In order to understand how she was back then,
 You first  have to call yourself  to a place
 Where columns are within you; where you can sense
 The steps; where arches full of danger
 Bridge  the abyss of a space
 that remained within you, because it was
 built up from such pieces that you can
 no longer remove from yourself: unless you tore yourself down.
 Once you have reached that place, and everything is stone within you,
 Wall, staircase, vista, vault, - then try
 To pry open  the large curtain before you 
 just a little, with both hands:
 Then very exalted objects  gleam
 And overcome your breath and touch.
 Up and down, palace stands upon palace,
 Banisters stream more broadly out of banisters
 And appear high up on such ledges
 That you are overcome by vertigo when you see them.
 A cloud from incense burners shrouds your space;
 But that which is  most distant aims 
 directly at you with its straight rays -,
 And now that the glow from clear flaming chalices
 Plays upon the slowly approaching robes:
 How can you stand it?
 But she came and lifted
 Her eyes, to view all this.
 (a child, a little girl among women.)
 Then she climbed up calmly, full of self-confidence,
 Towards the moving pampered pomp:
 Showing already that everything that people are building
 Was outweighed by the praise
 in her heart.   By the joy of
 Devoting herself to the inner signs.
 The parents thought they were lifting her up,
 The threatening figure with the bejeweled breast
 Seemingly received her: But she went through all of them,
 As little as she was, and left every hand, walking
 Towards her fate already formed, which was higher than the Hall
 and heavier than the house.

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  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Knut W. Barde, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Based on


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

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:46
Line count: 39
Word count: 292