HOURS IN THE GARDEN and Other Poems by Hermann Hesse

HOURS IN THE GARDEN and Other Poems

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Two long, extremely prosy poems and a sprinkling of undistinguished lyrics. The title poem is a sort of diary/paean to Hesse's garden, and it's very pleasant. The ""silly flower faces, touching,/ Droll, innocent and greedy and the same time"" turn at season's end ""Wondrously ripe, transcendent, an admonishing model."" Hesse even gives practical tips: ""I surround their roots with/ A mixture of damp, porous leaf mold and a few grains of/ Artificial fertilizer. Try it!"" The matter-off-factness and unpretension are more striking than the allegorical ending, in which Hesse sets about charcoal-burning in order to both sweeten the earth and alchemically purify, with this symbol, all matter. ""The Lame Boy,"" the other long poem, is likewise plain-spoken: a memory of a childhood companion without any great freight of significance. In Rika Lesser's unruffled, smooth translation, Hesse aficionados will find here a domestic, unstrained side to their author; to others, Hesse's basic unsuitedness to poetry will be of first note.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1979
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux