Thursday, December 8, 2011


by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
-written in a Nazi prison 

Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.
Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.
Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equally, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were
compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectation of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am Thine!


  1. I saw your interesting comments at Steve F's and thought I'd come by. I read about your Melissa and have said a prayer. God bless you both and cling to his promises!
    all the best, Z

  2. by the way, I highly recommend Bonhoeffer's most recent biography. fantastic history of himself and Germany's 'advent' into Hitler's nightmare regime.......

  3. Z, What is the title of this biography? I began reading Hitler's biography(Ian Kershaw)two years ago. Never finished it, but got through much of the early years of his life, which revealed much that I was unaware of concerning the political climate of that nation after WWI. I am very much interested in this sort of history and would enjoy reading more on Mr. Bonhoeffer.