“Assistono diversi santi”
(Several Saints Attend)

Assistono diversi santi

               1914

Nichts andres haben wir zu tun,
Als daß wir vor dem Heilandkind
Auf frommen Knieen betend ruhn.
Die wir der Jungfrau Diener sind.

Sieh, unser Dienst ist leicht und zart.
Wir atmen still im grünen Land
Der schönen Mutter Gegenwart.
Und selig werden wir genannt.

Und selig wirst auch du, o Christ,
Der du voll dunkler Sehnsucht bist,
Wenn du der Schönsten dich ergibst
Und keine andre liebst.

— Hermann Hesse

Several Saints Attend

               1914

There is nothing else to do
Than to rest on our knees in holy prayer
Before the Child Redeemer,
We who are servants to the Virgin.

Behold, our ministry is light and delicate.
We breathe calmly in the green land
The presence of the luminous mother,
And blessed are we who are called.

And you, too, will be saved, O Christ,
You who are so filled with dark longing,
When you surrender to what is most incandescent
And love no one else.

Wally Swist, Translation

Wally Swist’s recent books include Taking Residence (Shanti Arts, 2021), Evanescence: Selected Poems (Shanti Arts, 2020), and On Beauty: Essays, Reviews, Fiction, and Plays (Adelaide Books, 2018). His book A Bird Who Seems to Know Me: Poems Regarding Birds & Nature was the winner of the 2018 Ex Ophidia Press Poetry Prize and published in 2019. A Writer’s Statements on Beauty: New and Selected Essays and Reviews was published by Shanti Arts in April 2022.

Image: Detail from The Adoration of the Magi, Giotto di Bondone, ca. 1320.

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