To Goldmund, from Narcissus


The morning will see you thrown upon the twisting paths

With the first light as your only guide

And the raging wind for your only friend.

The fork lies ahead, friend, and as you know

you shall go east and I shall go west.


The earth is your mother, the sky

Your father, every man you meet

A brother, comrade, and every woman

A moonly muse, the colors, the sighs

The scents, the tastes, the delights, Goldmund,

All yours.


You are no thinker, you have no use for

The logic of how your world works, for it is

But a poor substitute to the raging, pining

Heart that you are all of, Goldmund

Your artist’s heart.


Words are wasted on you, Goldmund, you feel

The anguish behind the poor shape of the words

That created those very words in the first place.

You are fiery passion, not for you

The subtlety of the exaltation

Of a head bowed in prayer.


You are a mother’s son, your head

Still resides in the folds of Her bosom.

Find you voice, dear Goldmund, find it

Not to speak words of inanity, not to

Translate your thoughts into language

But to sing those ancient melodies

The heartbeat of Life

Your mother’s song.

You will learn to sing, Goldmund.

Go forth into the large, lost world

And soak yourself in it.

Leave nothing unturned.

Make your peace with your nature

And revel in your freedom.

Feel it all, the pain

Of too much joy, the fleeting

shudder of the snowflake as she

Dies on your cheek, the anguish

Of birth, the fear of being stalked

by the reaper’s scythe, the emptiness

of life, the meaningless meander

The walk without a goal,

Do it all, feel it all.


You will remain unspoiled, I know.


And one day, when we are old men

Visit my cloister

And tell me your tale,

for I cannot join you

For your path is yours

and yours only.


Fare you well, amicus.


Inspired by Hermann Hesse’s ‘Narcissus and Goldmund’