Nordic Fairy Tales and Poetry

Over the days I have been delving a little into nordic fairy tales and their illustrations, including those by John Bauer. And while I was immersed in them, thinking about humanity, I wrote some more verses…

Tuvstarr and Skutt - Visual Poem (Text: Martin Duehning)
Tuvstarr and Skutt – Visual Poem (Text: Martin Duehning)

Tuvstarr and Skutt

Once was my heart of gold;
It drowned me at the ground
Surrounded by, I found
That little bit of hold:
I was a princess, young.
Despite I’m living on
As flowers, as you know:
Even my heart is lost
Deep in the bitter pond,
Until I get it back,
Remain as I will do.

A fellow, kind, like you,
You mighty, courageous moose
Others would have complied –
And I have lost my crown,
And I have lost my grace,
I was too green in mind
And knew zilch of the world.
I’m paying now the price,
And I lost everything:
Nothing – remains of me
As flowers I persist.

There, high up in the north
Are many ponds and pools:
Still, black, possibly cursed,
In forests deep, they hide.
Fir trees an wacky pines,
Circled around their banks:
Sometimes they bend their tips,
Forward, to see what is
Hidden in water’s depths.
Down there, too, great woods lie,
Silence surrounds them softly,
Silence of golden hearts.

* * *

Tuvstarr's Return - Visual Poem (Text: Martin Duehning)
Tuvstarr’s Return – Visual Poem (Text: Martin Duehning)

Tuvstarr‘s Return

I will be back one day, maybe,
Maybe one day in May, I’ll be,
When sunshine rises from green
When it unfolds new, golden rays
Wide – over a purified world
And overcomes my sorrow for
What never was.

Until then, in Winter’s nights
I drink misery from the depths,
From the woods far below.
I gaze deep and catch my breath
And sense far, so far….

* * *

Treeness - Visual Poem (Text: Martin Duehning)
Treeness – Visual Poem (Text: Martin Duehning)


If we would live more consciously,
If we would use our senses more attentively,
Then we would realise that trees show us
What we are truly like:
Born from tiny seeds, unfolded over years,
Indigenous and intertwined with what is around us
We have a solid trunk and many branches:

The future lies before us as a treetop of possibilities,
Upwards it tapers many times,
And yet the squirrel only leaps onto one branch out of many.
And into the unconscious, into our roots, it ramifies too,
But we cannot understand that,
That our origins, too, flow into diversity,
A vast subterranean network that is our root system,
And because we don’t see it, we don’t believe it,

And yet we draw all our force from it,
For not from the sunny workings of heaven alone,
But also from the waters of the underworld
We gain our strength to live.

* * *

The Tale of Princess Kaguya - Visual Poem (Text: Martin Duehning)
The Tale of Princess Kaguya – Visual Poem (Text: Martin Duehning)

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Even if we are born into this world
With divine blessings, it does not mean
That we will be happy on Earth.
We may find divine treasures
And meet people with best intentions
– But that doesn‘t matter.

Rather, blessing means
That we are affirmed in everything:
In joy, but also in suffering,
And that we are awaited
When the time is ready.

Until then: From our joy
Existence gains strength,
From suffering the depth
– But the elevations of our life:
They are gifts from the Celestials.

 * * *

Circus of Life - Visual Poem (Text: Martin Duehning)
Circus of Life – Visual Poem (Text: Martin Duehning)

Circus of Life

Yes, the world is often like a stage, but
What some people don’t realise all their life long is
That we do not only exist when we are seen and cheered.
And therefore these people waste a lot of life time
With noisy but pointless actions in order to gain
Supposedly necessary attention.

All that energy and all that time
Could have been better spent
On living consciously, or,
If they are unable to do so or see no point in it:

They could have made the environment around them
A little friendlier and more liveable
Instead of acting as the centre of the world,
As dwarven horror clowns.

* * *

Being a Mensch (Text: Martin Duehning)
Being a Mensch (Text: Martin Duehning)

Being a Mensch

A Mensch is artwork of himself,
Nothing that is brought in from outside.
His self is natural relationship:
There is no difference between
The true and the interwoven,
Between being and spirit.

That is what makes an organism:
That it has grown organically,
A living effective potency,
Not a construct.

* * *

These and some more poems are collected in our gallery of visual poems, too.

Über Martin Dühning 1443 Artikel
Martin Dühning, geb. 1975, studierte Germanistik, kath. Theologie und Geschichte in Freiburg im Breisgau, arbeitet am Hochrhein-Gymnasium in Waldshut und ist Gründer, Herausgeber und Chefredakteur von