by Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Hör ich seine Weise flüstern
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Hör ich seine Weise flüstern
Meinen Bambus in der Nacht,
Hab ich bang und reiselüstern
Manche Stunde hell gewacht.

Dringlich zieht michs fort von allen
Den gewohnten Lebenskreisen,
Weg zu fliegen, weg zu fallen,
Ins Unendliche zu reisen.

Einst vor tausend Jahren gab es
Eine Heimat, einen Garten,
Wo im Beet des Vogelgrabes
Aus dem Schnee die Krokus starrten.

Vogelschwingen möcht ich breiten
Aus dem Bann, der mich begrenzt,
Zu dem Beet und zu den Zeiten,
Deren Gold mir heut noch glänzt.

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Hermann Hesse, Gesammelte Werke, Erster Band (Stufen, Die späten Gedichte, Frühe Prosa, Peter Camenzind), Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1970, page 152. This is the first version (erste Fassung). The second version can be found here.


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

Set in a modified version by Lothar Hundertmark, as Mark Lothar, Ernst Ludwig Leitner, Hildegard Quiel.

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

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2009-05-29
Line count: 16
Word count: 82

When I hear my bamboo whispering
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
When I hear my bamboo whispering
Its melody in the night,
Anxious and yearning to travel
I have lain wide awake many an hour.

Urgently I am drawn away
From all the accustomed circles of life,
To fly away, to fall away,
To travel into the infinite.

Once a thousand years ago there was
A homeland, a garden,
Where in the flower bed of the bird’s grave
The crocuses peeped out of the snow.

I would like to spread the wings of a bird
[And fly] out of the spell that restricts me
To the flowerbed and to the times
Whose gold still glints for me today.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Hör ich seine Weise flüstern" = "When I hear whispering its melody"
"Einst vor tausend Jahren" = "Once a thousand years ago"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2019 by Sharon Krebs, (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.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2019-10-18
Line count: 16
Word count: 107