by Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)
Translation © by Walter A. Aue

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) 
Headmost in wind's shoving
waves a wilted leaf.
Roaming, youth, and loving
stops: their time is brief.

Trackless leaves ascend, descend
wherever winds will stray,
only to stop in the woods, in decay.
Where will my journey end?


  • Singable translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2010 by Walter A. Aue, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

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This text was added to the website: 2010-03-26
Line count: 8
Word count: 38