Goethe’s Permanence in Change (a favorite of mine)
by on January 1, 1970 in David Hayes


If only this early blessing could last a single hour! But the warm west wind is shaking over me a rain of flowers.  Shall I take pleasure in the leaves whose shade I once enjoyed?  Soon a storm will scatter sheaves through autumn’s trembling void.  If you want to grasp the fruit then, hurry now and take your share!  Some of it’s begun to ripen, some is germinating there: Swiftly and with every shower there’s change along the valley’s rim, alas, in the selfsame river a second time you cannot swim.  You yourself too!  What was standing firm as rock before your sight Wall and Palace, now you’re seeing with ever-changing eyes.  Wasted now are those lips kisses healed once long ago and the feet now that skipped on cliffs like mountain goats’.  And the hand that gently moved, that articulated structure, generously, to do good, shows a different nature.  And what now in their place calls itself by your name, to the elements in haste flows like water, as it came. Let the end and the beginning gather themselves into one!  Let your own self go flying swifter than all these objects can!  Give thanks that the Muses’ art promises one unfading thing, the meaning in your heart, and the form in your being. 

2 Responses to Goethe’s Permanence in Change (a favorite of mine)

  1. Just a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great layout. “Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.” by Harold Bloom.

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