Herman Hesse is little known for poetry but wrote many great novels including 'Siddartha' and 'Damien'. In his classic novel 'Steppenwolf' his main character pined for a "kingdom of truth" and said "the music of Mozart belongs there and the poetry of your great poets.......we have to stumble through so much dirt and humbug before we reach home. And we have no one to guide us. Our only guide is our homesickness." I think this poem is about homesickness. But what is home? Hesse has no answer but I cherish that he knows how to ask the question.............
To a Chinese Girl Singingby Herman Hesse
We traveled down the still river in the evening,
The acacia stood in the color of rose, casting its light,
The clouds cast down the rose light. But I scarcely saw
All I saw were the plum blossoms in your hair.
You sat smiling in the bow of the garlanded boat,
Held the lute in your skillful hand,
Sang the song, that holy country of your own,
While your eyes promised fire, and you were so young.
Without saying anything, I stood at the mast, and what I
For myself, was to give in to those gleaming eyes, over and
To listen to the song forever in blessed pain,
To the song that could make me happy, tangled in your