Noch bist du da

You are here still

for SSAATTBB a cappella

Noch bist du da


SSAATTBB a cappella
London, 2020
Author of the text
Rose Ausländer
Copyright of the text
Copyright © 1981, S. Fischer Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt am Main
4 m 50 s
Preview score (German)
Preview score (English)


Please contact me if you are interested in this score

About the poem

Noch bist du da (You are here still) is a poem by Rose Ausländer, written by dictation in the nursing home where she was bedridden for the last decade of her life.

It begins with an unflinching reminder of our own mortality, but ends with an encouragement to embrace the joys of life and love while we are still able.

About the poet

Rose Ausländer (née Rosalie Scherzer, 1901–1988) was a Jewish poet who wrote in German and English. She was born in Czernowitz (present-day Chernivtsi, Ukraine), which during her life was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Kingdom of Romania and the Soviet Union.

Her family fled the invading Russian troops for Vienna in 1916. She emigrated to the United States in 1921 where she published her first poems. After her return to Czernowitz in 1931 (then Cernăuți, Romania) to care for her sickly mother, she was alleged to be a US spy by the Nazi occupiers, imprisoned for four months, and made to work as a forced labourer in the ghetto. Having remained in hiding for a year to avoid deportation to the concentration camps, she returned to the United States in 1944 where she lived and wrote only in English.

She returned to Europe and settled in Düsseldorf in 1967, where the majority of her life’s work was written, in her mother tongue, German. She spent the last decade of her life bedridden in a nursing home, dictating her poetry as her arthritis prevented her from writing herself.

German text

Wirf deine Angst
in die Luft

ist deine Zeit um
wächst der Himmel
unter dem Gras
fallen deine Träume
ins Nirgends

duftet die Nelke
singt die Drossel
noch darfst du lieben
Worte verschenken
noch bist du da

Sei was du bist
Gib was du hast

Copyright © 1981, S. Fischer Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt am Main

English text

Throw all your fears
into the air

your time is over
heaven grows
under the grass
all your dreams come
to nothing

the rose smells sweetly
the thrush sings gladly
still you may love
give the gift of words
you are here still

Be all you are
Give all you have

Translated by Kit Grahame