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Poems about love, life, death and more

Poems about love:

"How shall I hold my soul" by Rainer Maria Rilke (1899)

"Poem to the Beloved" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1776)

"Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare (around 1597)

Poems about life:

"Stages" by Hermann Hesse (1941)

"Song of Life" by Friedrich von Schiller (around 1784)

"The Panther" by Rainer Maria Rilke (1902)

Poems about death:

"Death and Life" by Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (1757)

"Am Kreuzweg wird begraben" by Christian Morgenstern (1910)

"Totenklage" by Friedrich Schiller (1786)

Poems about friendship:

"An die Freude" by Friedrich Schiller (1785)

"Friendship" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1798)

"A Parable" by Friedrich Rückert (1833)

Poems about nature:

"Erntelied" by Eduard Mörike (1838)

"The Erlking" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1782)

"The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" by Caspar David Friedrich (1817)

Poems about children:

"Childhood" by Rainer Maria Rilke (1899)

"Childhood" by Erich Kästner (1950)

"Children's Songs" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (around 1780)

Examples in detail

Rilke's love poem "How shall I hold my soul"

“How shall I hold my soul that it may not

Be touching yours? How shall I lift it then

Above you to where other things are waiting?

Ah, gladly would I lodge it, all forgot,

With some lost thing the dark is isolating

On some remote and silent spot that, when

Your depths vibrate, is not itself vibrating.

You and me – all that lights upon us though,

Brings us together like a fiddle bow

Drawing one voice from two strings, it glides along.

Across what instrument have we been spanned?

And what violinist holds us in his hand?

O sweetest song.”

Hesse's poem about life "Stufen = Steps or Stages"


As every blossom withers and every youth

Gives way to age, every stage of life blossoms,

Every wisdom blossoms and every virtue too

In its own time and must not last forever.

The heart must be ready at every call of life

To be ready for parting and new beginnings,

In order to be brave and without mourning

Into other, new bonds to give.

And there is a magic in every beginning,

That protects us and helps us to live.

We should walk cheerfully through room after room,

Clinging to none as to a home,

The spirit of the world does not want to bind and confine us,

He wants to lift us step by step, to widen us.

No sooner are we at home in a circle of life

And cosily acclimatised, we are threatened with slackening;

Only those who are ready to set out and travel,

May break free from paralysing habituation.

Perhaps even the hour of death

Send us young towards new spaces,

Life's call to us will never end,

Well then, heart, take your leave and be well!

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