Fatherland

Fatherland
translation of an untitled poem by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

I used to have a handsome fatherland.
The oaks were tall
and violets gently nodded in the breeze.
A dream was all.

He kissed me in German, spoke to me in German
(I still recall
the joyous sound); “I love you” were his words.
A dream was all.
15 August 2010
Written in France, I find this the most heartfelt of all Heine poems. It has a unique dreamlike feeling that I tried to capture.

The translation is interpretive. For comparison, here is a more literal translation (which I expect some will prefer).

I once had a beautiful fatherland.
The oak trees there
Grew so tall, and violets nodded softly.
It was a dream.

It kissed me in German and said in German
(You’d hardly believe
How good it sounded) the words: “I love you!”
It was a dream.