The Rebirth of Goethe’s Nosegay

A PARABLE (1828 Prequel)

“I PICKED a rustic nosegay lately,
And bore it homewards, musing greatly;
When, heated by my hand, I found
The heads all drooping tow’rd the ground.

I plac’d them in a well-cool’d glass,
And what a wonder came to pass;
The heads soon raised themselves once more,
The stalks were blooming as before.

And all were in as good a case
As when they left their native place;
So felt I, when I wond’ring heard,
My song to foreign tongues transferr’d.”

(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: 1749-1832)


That rustic nosegay yet has life,
Despite encounters with much strife;
Our efforts must be: “Keep at bay,
Those hazards that may come our way.”

As children of our Mother Earth,
One’s death can lead to new rebirth;
All bloom with tender loving care,
Despite the pains from wear and tear.

From sufferings we learn to rise.
Agreed, it takes one constant tries;
With aid from sundry foreign places,
We rise again to find new spaces.

That is the course life offers us.
To not to worry, not to fuss;
But like a nosegay sprouting bright,
To lift ourselves to lofty height.

So feel I now, when I, in poetry with care,
Goethe’s ‘Parable’ to foreign tongues transfer.
And all is well, in every good case,
when it resounds beyond its native place.

About this poem

“Goethe’s Parable, in any other tongue, doth flourish to the beat in which it’s sung.” Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), a German writer, politician, and polymath; a novelist, scientist, and statesman, was also a composer of plays and poetry, his works having an enduring and widespread influence on Western literary, political, and philosophical thought that extends into the present twenty first century. As Goethe, in an expression of the universal metaphysical power of poetry, once declared ostentatiously: “True poetry announces itself thus, that, as a worldly gospel, it can by informal cheerfulness and eternal comfort free us from the earthly burdens which press upon us. ” The alchemical and metaphysical agent for human transformation and a trigger for human individuation, poetry as an art form, serves as a healing balm for the soul, and a source of comfort to the sick and dying. This five-stanza rhymed quatrain poem, “The Rebirth of Goethe’s Nosegay,” serves as a poetic sequel to Goethe’s masterpiece and is therefore written as a supporting conjunction to his 1828 metaphysical poem, entitled „Eine Parabel“ (“A Parable”), which initiates this newly composed poem and therefore serves as a poetic prequel to the entire poem, which in its present format, now consists of a prequel (Goethe’s’Parable’ poem), and a sequel (entitled The Rebirth of Goethe’s Nosegay”), which amplifies the original work. The opening line of Goethe’s poem reads in English as follows: “I PICKED a rustic nosegay lately…” When expressed in German (Goethe’s native language), the same opening line of the poem, would read as follows: “Ich habe kurzlich einen rustikalen Blumenstrauss gepflückt…“ In English, the word “PICKED” (“gepflückt) is all-capitalized, suggesting that that word was likely emphasized by Goethe in the original German manuscript as well. That itself, is an interesting and valuable piece of information. It supports the view of the author’s deliberate construction of the intended semantic ambiguous nature of the poem. In German, the infinitive verb, “gepflügen,” can, semantically, suggest “to cultivate” (“plant,” “grow”) or, alternatively, “to plough” ( to “uproot,” “remove” for harvesting; “to pluck”); both senses of the word, conveying metaphorically contrastive meanings that suggest either “to bring to, as a cause to sustain life; or to reap; or to dispose of by consuming.” Thus, at its outset, Goethe’s poem gives the perceptive reader “heads up” about the mysterious, intertwining, and complex nature of life and death, of death and rebirth; all of which provides a vivid image of the parable of life itself. For current readers, Goethe’s poem, concerning the metaphysics of life and death, is introduced here as a prequel, followed by this new poem, composed as a responsive twenty first century sequel to Goethe’s thoughtful nineteenth century poem. Ich danke allen die dieses Gedicht zu Ehren von Goethes Originalgedicht „Eine Parabel“ aus dem Jahr 1828 gelesen haben. 

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Written on November 18, 2022

Submitted by karlcfolkes on November 18, 2022

Modified by karlcfolkes on July 10, 2024

1:20 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,329
Words 269
Stanzas 11
Stanza Lengths 1, 4, 4, 4, 1, 1, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1991 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s ‘Liebe Mili’ (translated into English as “Dear Mili”), Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes of Analytical Psychology. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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Discuss the poem The Rebirth of Goethe’s Nosegay with the community...

  • karlcfolkes
    Thank you, ZitoDonZito. Goethe’s artwork resonates deeply in all world cultures.
    LikeReply31 mins ago
  • ZitoDonZito
    Deep and nice
    LikeReply3 days ago
  • amandak
    LikeReply6 days ago
    • karlcfolkes
      : Amen to Goethe’s profound cultural contributions.
      LikeReply 16 days ago
    • amandak
      LikeReply5 days ago
  • karlcfolkes
    I thank you, elizabethh.11605. Goethe’s ‘Parable’ has an enduring uplifting message that bridges all cultures and all epochs.
    LikeReply7 days ago
  • elizabethh.11605
    love it
    LikeReply7 days ago
  • karlcfolkes
    Thank you kindly, Alan. Your support counts.
    LikeReply10 days ago
  • alanswansea18
    I love it.
    LikeReply10 days ago
  • karlcfolkes
    My thanks to you Dianejean57, and likewise to all others.
    LikeReply13 days ago
  • Dianejean57
    LikeReply13 days ago
  • karlcfolkes
    Goethe’s Parable, in any other tongue, doth flourish to the beat in which it’s sung.
    German Translation: Goethes Parabel blüht in jeder Sprache im Takt auf, in dem sie gesungen wird.
    LikeReply14 days ago
  • karlcfolkes
    Thank you both, kcbby88 and jerryl.01657 on your supportive comments. Most appreciated.
    LikeReply14 days ago
  • kcbby88
    love it
    LikeReply15 days ago
  • jerryl.01657
    Beautifully Rendered. A Classic. Nature, Continues 2 Uplift & Inspire.
    LikeReply15 days ago
  • karlcfolkes
    Thank you all my readers for the knowledge and the interest you bring to bear on this poem with your cornucopia of responses.
    LikeReply17 days ago
  • karlcfolkes
    I’ve since elaborated the poem in the format of an Inclusion (the last stanza of the poem), or the sequel to Goethe’s prequel.
    LikeReply17 days ago
  • karlcfolkes
    Thanks, Israel. In so many ways as adults, we’re all like little children who, in falling, must rise again.
    LikeReply19 days ago
  • israel_u
    When we fall, we should learn to rise.
    LikeReply19 days ago
  • crucifiedinhim2
    Loved it
    LikeReply19 days ago
  • karlcfolkes
    Abby, your comment is greatly appreciated. Goethe’s dent on our human culture and history is indelible.
    LikeReply21 days ago
  • Abbykesington
    You have transformed Goethe's nosegay from flowers " whose head soon raised themselves" to flowers "sprouting bright" lifting to "lofty heights."
    Great sequel to a masterpiece. Well done. 
    LikeReply21 days ago
  • karlcfolkes
    Thank you, israel_u for your comment.
    LikeReply23 days ago
  • israel_u
    Von Goethe was a popular German author. He authored Dr Faust, and was a Romantic writer.
    LikeReply23 days ago
  • karlcfolkes
    Thank you kindly Ben. We can learn greatly from those who have come before us and serve as our teachers.
    LikeReply 11 month ago
  • BenRidley
    One of many deeply learned and considered poems I’ve been reading of yours, Karl. The subject and your response in metre particularly interesting to read.
    LikeReply1 month ago
  • teril
    A well-done sequel to Goethe's prequel. The rhymes and the rhythm successfully continue the pattern and I enjoy the way that you embellish the theme. Not an easy task.
    LikeReply1 year ago


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"The Rebirth of Goethe’s Nosegay" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 14 Jul 2024. <’s-nosegay>.

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Who wrote the poem "Fire And Ice"?
A Edgar Allan Poe
B Robert Frost
C Gerard Manley Hopkins
D Johann Wolfgang von Goethe