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Der Erkennende (1915)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Fünf Gesänge (Mahler, Alma)

Der Erkennende

Menschen lieben uns, und unbeglückt
Stehn sie auf vom Tisch, um uns zu weinen.
Doch wir sitzen übers Tuch gebückt
Und sind kalt und können sie verneinen.
Was uns liebt, wie stoßen wir es fort
Und uns Kalte kann kein Gram erweichen.
Was wir lieben, das entrafft ein Ort [Wort],
Es wird hart und nicht mehr zu erreichen.
Und das Wort, das waltet, heißt: Allein,
Wenn wir machtlos zu einander brennen.
Eines weiß ich: nie und nichts wird mein.
Mein Besitz allein, das zu erkennen.

The recognizer

People love us, and rise
Discontent from the table to weep for us.
But we sit bent over the cloth
And are cold and can deny them.
What we love, we reject,
And no sorrow can temper our coldness.
What we love is snatched away –
It becomes hard and can no longer be reached.
And the word that rules all is: Alone,
When we, powerless, burn ourselves to ashes.
One thing I know: never shall anything be mine.
My only possession is to recognize that fact.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Alma Maria Mahler Gropius Werfel (born Alma Margaretha Maria Schindler; 31 August 1879 – 11 December 1964) was a Viennese-born composer, author, editor and socialite. She composed at least 17 songs for voice and piano. She was married to Gustav Mahler.

Read her full Wikipedia article here.


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