Er Ists


Fruehling laesst sein blaues Band
Wieder flattern durch die Luefte;
Suesse, wohlbekannte Duefte
Streifen ahnungsvoll das Land.
Veilchen traeumen schon,
Wollen balde kommen.
—Horch, von fern ein leiser Harfenton!
Fruehling, ja du bists!
Dich habe ich vernommen!



Eduard Moerike  1829




The stark simplicity of this poem that unfolds so effortlessly in poetic magic has made it a
standout in Eduard Moerike's literary achievement. It has become the favorite German spring
poem.

The first impression is one of space into which the speaker is being drawn. He is standing in a
tranquil landscape, highly attentive to what is going on around him. He then attempts to draw to
himself what he sees in the distance observing minute movement in distant space: the fluttering
blueness in the air becomes a ribbon, thus transforming the imagined into a concrete presence.
The atmosphere is in gentle movement spreading the familiar scent. The violets are coming to
life, as if they were ushering in the spring.

The poem has to do exclusively with sense experience. First with the sense of sight, then the
sense of smell, and lastly the sense of hearing which triggers a feeling of jubilation, convincing
the speaker that his expectant longing is about to be fulfulled. Satiated with sense experience the
speaker bursts forth with his first self-conscious utterance with "Oh Spring, it is you". Each of the
last two lines is punctuated with the sign of joy, an exclamation point.

The German title [Er Ists] strikes the English-speaking reader who would translate Er ists = He is.
But "Er" refers to the masculine German word "Fruehlung" = Spring. In the German version the
poet deftly employs the masculine the word spring in the title and transforming it within the
poem as he progresses from a distant "he" to a close "you" relationship with spring itself. In the
end it is an intimate personal encounter between "I" and "you".
 




It is Spring


Spring lets her blue ribbon
Flutter in the breeze again;
Sweet, familiar scents
Drift with promise o'er the land.
Violets lie dreaming already,
Soon to be awakened.
—Listen,
from afar the faint sound of a harp!
Spring, it is you!
I can hear you coming!



Translation: Charles L. Cingolani        Copyright © 2008
. . . Moerike capturing the very essence of spring . . .