A special friend has sent me special Tagore poems. I always loved the book Fireflies with lots of little poems. But Hesse’s poem is at least as meaningful.
My bilingual version is on DAS LEBEN, DAS ICH SELBST GEWÄHLT – Hermann Hesse
This is translated by Alan Collins – for dear Sabine McNeill, who was arrested yesterday by slaves of the ruling class, being millionaire murderers and paedophiles in our corrupt Queen’s Parliament.
THE LIFE THAT I CHOSE MYSELF
Before into this earthly life I came
I was forewarned how it would go for me.
There was the sorrow, there was the blame,
There was the truckload of my misery,
Packed full of vices that would keep me prisoner,
The dreadful mistakes that would stick to my name.
The lighting rages that would rumble and roar,
The fury and hatred, the pride and the shame.
Yet there were also days of much joy and pleasure,
Filled full of light and with beautiful dreams in place,
Where a plague of lawyers were no more the measure,
And over all was falling that spiritual gift of grace,
Where love was threaded through each earthly robe,
Given to those detached as others have been before,
Who raised their thoughts above this worldly globe
As if they were the chosen ones of yore.
Then I was shown both the bad and the best,
The abundance of my worst errors, once again.
The wounds that had to bleed, and all the rest,
The helpful hands of Angels and some men.
And when outstretched I saw my future life,
I heard a voice that posed the hardest question,
Would I dare face with courage all that strife
When the final hour for my decision came.
Once more I measured all the worst derision –
“This is the life that I chose myself, you see!” –
And answered with a final firm decision,
Then stepped into my brand new destiny,
And quietly shouldered every fate as shown
When I was born into this world anew,
Without complaint though often I would moan
Because, unborn, I had confirmed my due.
It’s that last line that always moves me deeply.
For it helps me see that I am ‘on track’,
accepting my destiny… With many thanks to Alan!!!