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

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Manchmal, wenn ein Vogel ruft
Oder ein Wind geht in den Zweigen
Oder ein Hund bellt im fernsten Gehöft,
Dann muss ich lange lauschen und schweigen.

Meine Seele flieht zurück,
Bis wo vor tausend vergessenen Jahren
Der Vogel und der wehende Wind
Mir ähnlich und meine Brüder waren.

Meine Seele wird Baum
Und ein Tier und ein Wolkenweben.
Verwandelt und fremd kehrt sie zurück
Und fragt mich. Wie soll ich Antwort geben?

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 133-134.


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) , "Sometimes", 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: 2004-04-01
Line count: 12
Word count: 72

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Sometimes when a bird calls
Or a wind moves in the branches
Or a dog barks on a distant farmstead,
Then I must listen for a long time and fall silent.

My soul flees all the way back [to the time]
Where a thousand forgotten years ago
The bird and the blowing wind
Were like me and were my brethren.

My soul becomes [a] tree
And an animal and a weaving of clouds.
Transformed and strange it returns
And questions me.  How shall I answer?


  • 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: 2019-02-04
Line count: 12
Word count: 85