MAD HÖLDERLIN IN TÜBINGEN

Die Linien des Lebenssindverschieden,
WieWegesind, und wie der Berge Grenzen.
Was hierwirsind, kanndorteinGottergänzen
MitHarmonien und ewigemLohn und Frieden.

(Life’s paths are varied—like the arteries
Of roads and mountain seams that spin sans end.
What we are here, a god can there amend
With endless peace, rewards, and harmonies.

—Friedrich Hölderlin, “Die Linien des Lebens”
as translated by William Ruleman)

**

The river down below runs on
Whether it is dusk or dawn.

To live there in that tower
Where the Neckar flows
Hour after hour
With pain nobody knows,
This is not a fate
To wish on anyone:
No, none who would be great
Would do as you have done
And go completely mad—
Yes, utterly insane—
Be so alone and sad,
Feel so much woe and pain.

The river down below runs on
Whether it is dusk or dawn.





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William Ruleman is Professor of English at Tennessee Wesleyan College, where he teaches a wide range of courses, including creative writing and literature, with a specialization in modern poetry in English. His poems have appeared in Acumen, Candelabrum, East River Review, The New Formalist, The Sonnet Scroll, The Galway Review, and Poetry Salzburg Review.