Goethe - Selected poems - The water lapped, the water swirled
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Johann Wolfgang Goethe – from Selected Poetry
The water lapped, the water swirled
An angler on the shore
Sat fishing, and his heart was cold
Calm to its very core.
And as he sits there listening
The waters part and rise;
A woman wet and glistening
Swims up before his eyes
She sang to him, she spoke to him;
Shame on your human skills,
Luring my little ones to die
In heat that chokes and kills!
How snug the little fishes are
There, in the depths below!
Come down to them, come live with them
And true content you’ll know!
Does the dear sun not bathe, the moon
Not dive into the sea,
And breathing from its waves return
Twice lovelier to see?
Does it not call you, the deep sky,
The moist transfigured blue,
Your own face beckoning down, down
Into eternal dew?
The water lapped, the water swirled,
It wetted his bare feet;
His heart it heard his true love’s word
Murmuring there so sweet.
She spoke to him, she sang to him,
Ah what could save him then?
Half dragged, half plunging, so he sank,
Never to rise again.