by Karl Friedrich Henckell (1864 - 1929)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Wenn ich dich frage, dem das Leben blüht:
O sage mir, sage wie das Mohnfeld glüht!
Das rote Mohnfeld, wie es jauchzt und lacht:
Tot ist mein Pfad und ewig meine Nacht.

Wohl manch ein Unglück schlägt den Menschen schwer;
Wer so viel trägt, kennt keinen Jammer mehr.
Die sonnenhellen Fluren wankt er blind
Und tappt nach Spuren, die verschüttet sind.

Ich träume Sonnen, strecke weit die Hand,
Ich möchte greifen durch die dunkle Wand,
Ich möchte fassen durch der Schatten Schicht
In roten Mohn und strahlend goldnes Licht.

Aus alten Zeiten zuckt ein Schimmer nach,
In toten Augen blieb die Sehnsucht wach
Und wissend von der Herrlichkeit des Lichts.
So ganz enterbt geh ich durch Nacht und Nichts.

Ob Freud, ob Leid begegnet meinen Wegen,
Tot ist mein Fluch, und tot ist auch mein Segen.


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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Plany d’un cec", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Klacht van een blinde", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Blind man's lament", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Complainte de l'aveugle", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 18
Word count: 136

Blind man's lament
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
 When I ask you, for whom life blooms,
 o tell me, tell me how the field of poppies glows!
 The red field of poppies - how it cheers and laughs:
 dead is my path and eternal is my night.

 Bad luck can often strikes a man hard;
 one who bears a lot soon knows misery no longer.
 He totters blindly through the sun-drenched meadows,
 and gropes for traces that have been buried.

 I dream of suns, stretching out my hand;
 I would like to reach through the dark wall -
 I would like to reach through the layer of shadows
 into red poppies and streaming, golden light.

 Since old times, a flicker still twitches,
 in my dead eyes there remains a wakeful longing
 and it knows the splendor of the light.
 So entirely disinherited, I go through night and nothingness.

 Whether joy or sorrow crosses my path,
 dead is my curse, and dead is also my blessing.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on


This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 18
Word count: 158