In The Blue Distance

In the blue distance
where the red apple-tree avenue strays
with root-feet climbing to heaven,
yearning is distilled
for all those who live in the vale.


The sun, lying on the edge of the path
with magic wands
offers rest to the travellers.

They stop
in the glassy nightmare
while the cricket meticulously scrapes
at the invisible

and the stone turns its dust
dancing into music.

In der blauen Ferne,
wo die rote Apfelbaumallee wandert
mit himmelbesteigenden Wurzelfüßen,
wird die Sehnsucht destilliert
für Alle die im Tale leben.

Die Sonne, am Wegesrand liegend
mit Zauberstäben,
gebietet Halt den Reisenden.

Die bleiben stehn
im gläsernen Albtraum,
während die Grille fein kratzt
am Unsichtbaren

und der Stein seinen Staub
tanzend in Musik verwandelt.

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2 thoughts on “In The Blue Distance

  1. I think that the blue distance is where a concentration camp would be. The title of the poem is ‘in the blue distance,’ and blue can be associated sadness, like when someone says they’re feeling blue. I think that in the poem the narrator is looking into the blue distance, and sees the concentration camps. The poem reads, ‘…yearning is distilled…’ I think that line means the concentration camps is where the yearning, or hope, fades away. It’s like when you strain pasta, but the concentration camps are what you strain the pasta with, the pasta is the people in the camps, and what you get rid of is hope. The people are tired of being attacked, and finally in the concentration camps, they just give up.
    ‘They stop in the glassy nightmare while the cricket meticulously scrapes at the invisible…’ According to the OED, ‘glassy’ can mean “Brittle or frail as glass,” or “Of the eye, etc.: Having a fixed unintelligent look, lacking fire or life, dull.” The people in the concentration camps are glassy because they are brittle or frail, they are starving and weak. Their eyes are glassy too, they lack emotion. The people have been stuck in the camp forever, they just want to give up. Nothing interests them anymore. According to the Online Symbolism Dictionary, glass can be transportation into a fairy tale world, like Alice through the Looking Glass. The transport into a fairy tale world has to do with the poem because the people in the concentration camps want transportation to a better place where they aren’t starving and dying.
    The last part of the poem says ‘They stop in the glassy nightmare while the cricket meticulously scrapes at the invisible and the stone turns its dust dancing into music.’ I think that the last part of this poem is saying the people in the concentration camps have finally given up, they’re tired of the glassy look in their eyes, they’re tired of dying, and they have finally gone. The cricket is playing its sad music on the graves of the buried as their bones grind away into dust.
    To summarize, I think that In the Blue Distance is about someone who is observing a concentration camp over time, and they notice how the people change, and eventually disappear. It’s a bit of a sad poem, but it’s the truth. It’s also a beautiful poem.

  2. I think that O Nations of the Earth is very interesting and meaningful. The poem has a lot of representations in it. I think that she is talking to God and asking him to make things better. She thinks that God is making things better, but then they are getting worse again. I think that she feels like she is trying to practice her religion, but the Nazis aren’t letting her. She says “you who climb into Babel as if into beehives to dip the honey and be stung”. Dipping honey is a part of Rosh Hashanah and she isn’t able to celebrate anymore because everyone is against the Jewish people.
    I think that she also talks about all of these innocent people dying. She says “…do not slash with the knives of hatred the sound that is also breath, that is life…” I think that she means that she hears people dying because of hatred towards them, and every time one is shot that is another precious life`1 being taken away.
    I had thought about the last stanza a lot with the words “…leave words where they grow, at their source, for only they can fit the horizons into place, into their real heavens…” I think that she is representing everyone in the world and maybe how they all have equal good and bad things about them. When these people only look at the bad parts they start to dislike each other; and this is what causes conflict and war. So maybe if we leave bad things about each other alone they may get better. I also think that when she says “help the starts to give birth” she might have been thinking that the starts are parts of god? And they helped protect the people from harm. Could they have represented the Star of David?
    To summarize I think that the poem has tons of representations, and we might never figure out all of them (to what she meant they were representing). I think that the poem is filled with many sad thoughts, but they are true. I enjoyed reading and trying to understand the poem.

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