I wake. Yes, it's a coffin lid.-With effort
I reach my hands out and I call
For help. Yes, I recall the tortures
Of dying.-Yes, this is no dream!-
And without effort, like a spider web
I push aside my casket's rotting wood

And stand. How bright the winter light appears
In the crypt's doorway! Can I doubt it?-
I see the snow. The crypt's without a door.
It's time to head for home. How stunned they'll be!
I know this park, I cannot lose my way.
But oh how different it looks now!

I hurry. Snowdrifts. Frigid boughs
Of dead trees poke deep into the sky,
There are no tracks or sounds. It's still.
The realm of death in an enchanted world.
And here's my home. But what decay!
I'm shocked by this heartbreaking sight.

The village sleeps beneath a snowy blanket,
There is no path in all the boundless steppe.
Yes, there it is: upon a far-off hill
I see the ancient belfry of the church.
A frozen traveler in the whirling snow,
It stands out clear against the cloudless span.

No winter birds or midges dot the snow.
I understand: the earth has long lain chill
And dead. For whom do I conserve
The breath within my chest? To whom did death
Return me? What's my mind
Connected to? And what's its final purpose?

Where shall I go if there is no one to embrace?
And time has lost itself in space?
O, Death, return! And hasten to assume
The fatal burden of this final life.
And you, stiff corpse of earth take flight
And bear my corpse on the eternal path!

By Life Tormented

By life tormented, and by cunning hope,
When my soul surrenders in its battle with them,
Day and night I press my eyelids closed
And sometimes I'm vouchsafed peculiar visions.

The gloom of quotidian existence deepens,
As after a bright flash of autumn lightning,
And only in the sky, like a call from the heart,
The stars' golden eyelashes sparkle.

And the flames of infinity are so transparent,
And the entire abyss of ether is so close,
That I gaze direct from time into eternity
And recognize your flame, universal sun.

Motionless, encircled by fiery roses,
The living altar of the cosmos smolders
And in its smoke, as in creative slumber,
All forces quiver, eternity's a dream.

And all that rushes through the abyss of ether,
And every ray, embodied or ethereal,-
Is but your reflection, O universal sun,
It is but a dream, but a fleeting dream.

Through the worldly breath of these reveries
I fly like smoke, involuntarily disperse,
And in this vision, in this delirium,
I can live with ease and breathe without pain.

In the darkness and still of a mysterious night
I see a fond and welcoming spark,
From the chorus of spheres, familiar eyes
Shine upon a grave forgotten in the steppe.

The grass has faded, the desert is grim,
A lonely tomb dreams an orphan's dream,
And only in the sky, like an eternal idea,
The stars' golden eyelashes sparkle.

And I dream you've risen from the dead,
Unchanged since you departed the earth,
And I dream a dream: we both are young,
And you've looked at me as you did back then.