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Does anyone know who I am?

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 10 Feb 2013 01:17

Do I know who you are?

A poem for the night ;-)


"Who Am I?"

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer


"Who am I? They often tell me

I stepped from my cell’s confinement

Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,

Like a squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me

I used to speak to my warders

Freely and friendly and clearly,

As though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me

I bore the days of misfortune

Equably, smilingly, proudly,

Like one accustomed to win.



Am I then really all that which other men tell of?

Or am I only what I myself know of myself?

Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,

Struggling for breath, as though hands were

compressing my throat,

Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,

Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,

Tossing in expectation of great events,

Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,

Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,

Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?



Who am I? This or the other?

Am I one person today and tomorrow another?

Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,

And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?

Or is something within me still like a beaten army,

Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.

Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am Thine!"



March 4,1945

Sharron

Sharron Report 10 Feb 2013 10:13

I have just Googled the author of the poem. What a strong,brave man.

Should the date be 1945?

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 10 Feb 2013 11:15

Rose. I have heard so much about Bonhoeffer yet knew so little about the man.

I also had a little google (will have a shrive on Tuesday and ask for forgiveness) and it says Martin Luther King was greatly influenced by him. I also remember doing an Alpha course many years ago ( a gentle introduction into Christianity designed by Nicky Gumball, a C of E Vicar in Central London and ex-barrister). The Alpha course mentioned Bonhoeffer often, if my memory serves :-D

Some of these wonderful lives are so painfully short :-( :-(

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 10 Feb 2013 11:46

Lol rose, not to detract from the thread but. After seeing Les Miserables I had the music in my head for ages but had finally got rid of it. One of the songs sung by Jean Valjean is 'Who am I'. Thanks you, it is now firmly back in my head. :-D

At first I though, oh good Rose is back writing poetry. Good poem though and I didn't know of it at all.

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 10 Feb 2013 12:16

While on the subject of names and poems. I always liked (and like) Rod McKuen and like him singing the following song. But how sad the words are and could be relevant these days too.

Doesn't anybody know my name?
I’ve been away so long
fought a war that’s come and gone
doesn’t anybody know my name ?

My sister’s up and wed
my mama’s took to bed
now my old dog Red’s gone lame.

Please tell me if you can
what time do the trains roll in ?
‘Two-ten, six-eighteen
ten forty-four.’

The hedge is turnin’ brown
the house is fallin’ down
doesn’t anybody know my name ?

The girl I left behind
she’s run off to Carolin’
I don’t have to read a sign to know things
ain’t the same.

Please tell me if you can
what time do the trains roll in ?
‘Two-ten, six-eighteen
ten forty-four.’

You can’t go far away
on just a soldier’s pay
doesn’t anybody know my name ?

Used to be when I could see
everybody wanted me
now nobody comes to see
the blind man catch the train.

Please tell me if you can
what time do the trains roll in ?
‘Two-ten, six-eighteen
ten forty-four.’
- from Rod McKuen's Greatest Hits Vol.1

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 10 Feb 2013 12:20

;-) @ Ann, "Who am I" from Les Mis was in my mind too, as it often is, the songs from Les Mis are my 'sing when no one's in next door' repertoire :-)

Sharron I'll amend the date, I just C & Pd but of course it must have been written pre April '45.

I had not read it before, but had been watching part of 'Schindler's List' last night and my thoughts butterflied from that to Bonhoeffer and the poem resonated with what I was thinking about knowing ( or not) who people really are..and who you are yourself. :-)