“Alle Menschen” by Novalis

At the meeting of the local Section group on April 18, 2020, we discussed one of the very last poems that Novalis wrote: “Alle Menschen seh ich Leben.” This prompted a lively dialogue concerning translation. I hope we can continue this discussion in future meetings. The topic of translation brings up all kinds of interesting problems for a poet: how to stay true to the truth of poetry while teetering on the balance beam of grammar and semantics.

Here is a video shared with the group that evening on April 18. In making it, I chose pictures from the American River. This year I observed a “golden shower of poppies” at the river — more California poppies than I have ever seen in spring! — and I’ve been walking that territory daily for years. The sound of the flowing river and the golden poppies, highlighted by the spring sunshine, put me in mind of this Novalis poem for some reason.

Written by Bruce Donehower
October 20, 2020