At Summer’s Eve

At summer’s eve, when the moon sends out her secret signs,
and the chalices of the lilies pour out perfumed heaven,
many an ear is opened, harking to the chirp of the cricket,
the turning of the earth and the language
of the unbound spirits.

But in dreams fish fly through the air
and a forest takes firm root in the living room floor.

But in the midst of the enchantment there speaks a voice, clear and perplexed:

World, how can you go on playing your games
and cheating time –
World, they have cast the little children like butterflies,
beating vain wings, into the flame

And your Earth has not been thrown like a rotten apple
into the hunted terror-stricken abyss –

And sun and moon have strolled on –
two squinting witnesses who saw – nothing.

Wenn im Vorsommer der Mond geheime Zeichen aussendet
die Kelche der Lilien Dufthimmel verströmen,
öffnet such manches Ohr unter Grillengezirp
dem Kreisen der Erde und der Sprache
Der entschrankten Geister zu lauschen

In den Träumen aber fliegen die Fische in der Luft
und ein Wald wurzelt sich im Zimmerfussboden fest.

Aber mitten in der Verzauberung spricht eine Stimme klar und verwundert:

Welt, wie kannst du deine Spiele weiter spielen
und die Zeit betrugen –
Welt, man hat die kleinen Kinder wie Schmetterlinge,
flügelschlagend in die Flamme geworfen –

Und deine Erde ist nicht wie ein fauler Apfel
in den schreckaufgejagten Abgrund geworfen worden –

Und Sonne und Mond sind weiter spazierengegangen –
zwei schieläugige Zeugen, die nichts gesehen haben.


2 thoughts on “At Summer’s Eve

  1. Nelly Sachs uses a lot of symbolism to get across her ideas in her poems. I found six words that symbolize things that can apply to this: moon, lilies (flowers), Heaven, Fish, Apple, and sun. All of these things represent and mean different things. I like how her poem can be so symbolic do it has a different meaning behind the actual words.

  2. This poem, “At summer’s eve” I think in my own personal opinion is talking about the last day of summer, like a summer’s eve. It is, a beautiful piece of poetry work and literature. A summer’s eve is like the day before summer, yet I picture in my mind a beautiful image of nature and beauty. Also, in the poem it included a metaphor; “And sun and move strolled on – two squinting witnesses that saw – nothing.” Now, I don’t have an exact professional definition for this metaphor/meaning, but I think it means that everything was forgotten about what recently happened before the beauty of nature and the image of the life itself that I pictured. I don’t know exactly if this makes any sense at all, but the explanation is about the nature that takes place in this poem.

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