The Truly Living

Holy Longing (Selige Sehnsucht)
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Translated by Shinzen Young

Tell it to no one but the wise
For most will mock it right away
The truly living do I prize
Those who long in flame to die.

In the coolness of loves evenings
Where you beget and were begotten,
You're overcome by strange new feeling
As the silent candle brightens.

No longer are you trapped and mired
In the darkened shadowings
But swept away by new desire
To a higher lovemaking.

Distance does not pall your flight
Spellbound through the air you're borne
Til at last mad for the light
You are a butterfly, then…gone.

And until you know of this:
How to grow through death
You're just another troubled guest
On the gloomy earth.