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

Das treibende Blatt
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG FRE
Vor mir her getrieben
Weht ein welkes Blatt.
Wandern, Jungsein und Lieben
Seine Zeit [und sein]1 Ende hat.

Das Blatt irrt ohne Gleise
Wohin der Wind es will,
Hält erst in Wald und Moder still . . .
Wohin geht meine Reise?

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Hermann Hesse, Sämtliche Werke, herausgegeben von Volker Michels, Band 10 Die Gedichte, bearbeitet von Peter Huber, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2002, page 63.

1 Sometimes "auch ein"


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 [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "The drifting leaf", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "The drifting leaf", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "La feuille au gré du vent", copyright © 2011, (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: 2009-05-24
Line count: 8
Word count: 42

The drifting leaf
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Propelled before me
A wilted leaf is blown.
Wandering, being young, and loving
Have their [time and their]1 end.

The leaf strays about without a path
Whither the wind wishes,
It only comes to rest in forest and mould . . .
Where shall my journey take me?

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Sometimes "time, also an"


  • 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: 2017-12-19
Line count: 8
Word count: 48