SCHMERZ – German for Pain – by Hermann Hesse: Suffering for a Higher Purpose?

It is another remarkable poem by Hermann Hesse, the philosopher and author of Siddharta, The Glass Bead Game and many other important and beautiful novels: Schmerz – about the way that Pain treats us.

I have been living with physical pain since 1973. Every day. Since last autumn, I have also been experiencing serious emotional pain in the best possible love relationship which has now come to an abrupt end. Hence I am looking for solace and found his poem about pain.

A supporter of the Hampstead Scandal offered me the introduction to this pelvis alignment expert as reasons for hope to ending pain and this translation for accepting suffering for a higher purpose:

S C H M E R Z – P A I N

Schmerz ist ein Meister, der uns klein macht,

Pain is a Master, who makes us small,

Ein Feuer, das uns ärmer brennt,

A fire that burns down our human home,

Das uns vom eigenen Leben trennt,

That leaves us with no worldly life, at all,

Das uns umlodert und allein macht.

Blazing on the burning ground alone.

Weisheit und Liebe werden klein,

His wisdom and love appear the same,

Trost wird und Hoffnung dünn und flüchtig;

Offering small comfort and fragile hope,

Schmerz liebt uns wild und eifersüchtig,

While suffering such thin and jealous attention,

Wir schmelzen hin und werden Sein.

Melting the wild mind under His telescope.

Es krümmt die irdne Form, das Ich,

He bends the reluctant ego, seeking a bargain,

Und weht und sträubt sich in den Flammen.

And blows upon it, in the blazing flames, anew.

Dann sinkt sie still in Staub zusammen

Then falling together in its holy ash, He will maintain

Und überläßt dem Meister sich.

That, in the end, you will become a Master too.

Translated by Alan Collins.
Friday, 21st August, 2015.

As a result, I formulated:

To accept suffering for a higher purpose, means turning

  • grief into joy
  • pain into power
  • and hurt into self-love.

Easier said in poetry than done in real life…

Published in: on August 31, 2015 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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