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

Die Birke
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Eines Dichters Traumgerank
Mag sich feiner nicht verzweigen,
Leichter nicht dem Winde neigen,
Edler nicht ins Blaue steigen.

Zärtlich, jung und überschlank
Lässest du die lichten, langen
Zweige mit verhaltnem Bangen
Jedem Hauche regbar hangen.

Also wiegend leis und schwank
Willst du mir mit deinen feinen
Schauern einer zärtlich reinen
Jugendliebe Gleichnis scheinen.

Confirmed with Hermann Hesse, Sämtliche Werke, herausgegeben von Volker Michels, Band 10 Die Gedichte, bearbeitet von Peter Huber, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2002, pages 57-58.


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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "The birch tree", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Le bouleau", copyright © 2018, (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: 2009-05-06
Line count: 12
Word count: 53

The birch tree
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
A poet’s intricate web of dreams
May not branch out more delicately,
May not bow down more gently before the wind,
May not rise into the blueness more nobly.

Delicate, young and over-slender
You, with suppressed trepidation,
Let your light, long branches hang down,
Movable by every breath of wind.

Rocking thus, quietly and with swaying,
You, with with your fine tremblings,
Seem to me to be a metaphor of
Tenderly pure young love.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2017 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: 2017-12-04
Line count: 12
Word count: 74