When I was a boy … by Holderlin When I was a boy Often a god would save me From the shouts and blows of men; I played safely and well With the flowers of the fields And the winds of heaven Played with me. As you make happy The hearts of plants When they extend to you Their delicate tendrils, So you make my heart happy, Father Sun, and like Endymion I was your favorite, Holy Moon! All true and neighborly gods! If only you knew How much I loved you then! True, at that time, I didn’t Know your names, and you Never bothered to name me, like men Who only pretend to know one another. Yet I know you better Than I’ve ever known anyone, I understood the silence of the upper air, But I’ve never understood the words of men. I was raised by the sounds Of the rustling grove And learned to love Among the flowers. I grew up in the arms of the gods.