Lance Brett Hall

Stories Make Meaning. How Do We Make Stories?

“Late in the Year” by Hedwig Lachmann


There’s a terrific online German-English dictionary at I’m very excited that I’ve discovered a Christmas tradition of theirs: posting an online Advents-Kalender, with one poem for each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas.

There’s such a rich tradition of German poetry that I’m completely ignorant of. I’m thrilled LEO has curated a little collection as we prepare for Christmas.

Here’s my attempt at a translation of the poem for the first day of Advent, “Spät im Jahr“, “Late in the Year”, by Hedwig Lachmann (1865-1918):

“Late in the Year”

The autumn flew. The first of nightly frosts
Has iced the fields, from which the harvest has been cleared.
The forest’s floor is bare, colorless.
The wayside chapped, and rimmed with hoarfrost.

Through the vacant sky, towards the horizon flies
The crow, and stretches out its wings.
The world is only basked in light but distantly.
One feels the snow can’t hold out long.

A sea of gray fog churns
The sky to darkness, and nights are growing long.
It seems that life is either celebration or a brooding,
Like a mother of grown children who has finished

Daily work and now thinks only of her children,
And whose only daily bread is happiness,
Is submerged into her distant future
And is yet lonely and abandoned.