Walter Benjamin Wrote Sonnets?!

Carl Skoggard is indeed correct when stating in the opening of her article Read Early Sonnets by Walter Benjamin, for the first time in English: Heatbroken, One of the Great Thinkers of the 20th Century Turned to Poetry that it is little known that Benjamin wrote poetry.

I’ve read several of major work by Benjamin and was totally clueless. Needless to say, I certainly plan on getting a copy of his book of sonnets to gain a new perspective on the man. For those that may also be interested, read the LitHub article and/or sample some of the poems in the collection below.

Sonnet 1

Disburden me of Time from which thou’rt vanished
And of thy presence free me from within
As in the twilight hours red roses free themselves
From all mere marriedness of things

The heartfelt homage and the bitter voice
I forego calmly and thy burning lips
And yet more burning brow enshaded purple
Just below the black gleam of thy hair

So may that image fail me too of praise
And ire which thou wouldst offer
Underway while very like a prince

Thou didst the banner bear its symbol to unriddle
Plant in me thy sacred Name instead
Name without image Amen without end.

Sonnet 34

I sat one night to ponder on myself
And round me thy sweet life did stir
The mirror of my mind glanced back
As hadst thou just looked out from in its depths

Then came the thought: Thou sucklest me
Into thy breath I shall my self surrender
For like grapes hanging are thy lips
Which have mute witness borne to inmost things

O friend thy presence has been wrested from me
Like one asleep whose hand looks for the wreath
In his own hair so in dark hours I for thee

Though once thy cloak did round me go
As were there dancing and from within the midnight throng
Thy look did snatch the breath out of my mouth.

Sonnet 45

My Soul why art thou always in search of the Beautiful one?
Long is he dead and the rotating globe so
Attends to its spinning that no one still misses the hero
My Soul why art thou always in search of the Beautiful one?

Why dost wake me O Lord with such weeping and groaning?
Ah I was looking to sleep and lamenting disfigures
My desolate state in which Desolate one thou dost share
Why dost wake me O Lord with such weeping and groaning?

And so one night I held in my heart a debate
Falling mute and ashamed I determined on silence
No longer my sorrow to show to my Soul

No more to wake her my griefs to assuage
Though see from her mouth sleeping she allowed to ascend
So many a sorrowful song Her tears flaring like candles.

Unknown Number Sonnet

Waking were his glances my sole light
For errant traces and the starlight
Of his eyes the only beam
Bestowed upon my sleeping places

Now such companions are no more
Mute did the mirrors of all Spirit shatter
In these heavens which their glistening laugh
More blessedly transfigured with each morrow

Even when they wept they stood as pools
Themselves to nourish by the fall of heavy drops
Whose fragrance would outlast the shower

And in the fullness of their tears
Would those things speak which yet lacked names
Much as leaves may speak in gardens.