English translations of poems about the Berckemeyer coat of arms and the estate of Gross-Thurow in Mecklenburg. The second poem, written by Helene Berckemeyer, dates from November 10, 1936, the day that her husband Bernhard Philipp purchased Gross-Thurow, his childhood home. The poems may also be read in the original German.

(Bernhard Philipp Berckemeyer (1764-1816) purchased the Gross-Thurow estate around 1798. Extracts from his Calcutta journal can be found here).

Vivat et spes! (May hope also live!)

To guard and strike, in grief and joy,
For Fatherland and honour's sake,
May the hand be ever armed,
Attack to launch, defence to make!
May the loyal armed hand
Ever the scythe swing,
May the land rustling with golden grain
Ever to your house blessings bring!
And may in your hearth’s light
And your hospitable hall
Success and confidence shine
God with you and God for us all!

Gross-Thurow in Mecklenburg: front view of house

Today I am to see my home again.
From its soil the hand of destiny
And tangled, tragic events
Exiled me.
And now? Does it really call me, wishing for new life?
My home, which ever holds my heart?
I see before me ardent work and noble duty,
He who has given them, be thanked!
Today I go back in silent thought
Once more to the distant paths of youth’s land
Happy memories, shining childhood joys,
Before I firmly take the helm in hand.
I see the window where first I slept
And courtyard and garden where the happy band of boys once played,
There, where my mother’s voice called,
And where when father was angry the boy’s heart was dismayed.
And there, the shining lake in whose reflection
The new shoots of the young birches gaze,
You meadow bright with blossoms – ringing to a cricket chorus –
In the brief hot summer’s midday haze.
And harvest time! The threshing machine whirs
The barn doors open wide
Where loaded wagons sway,
You sublime, happy time!
All hearts give thanks that day.
You there, mossy roof, bowed down to earth.
I hear the old tower clock hesitantly strike
How many times in cold winter night
Has it greeted the New Year
Since those youthful days took flight?
Today a November storm drives raw over the lea,
There is only the call of cranes and scream of jays,
Wild geese fly over my home,
Yet it is free! –
There on the heavy lashes of the old fir tree
A tear still hangs from the last night’s tale.
Over some memories a grey mist lets fall
a gentle veil. –
Leafless by the linden walk is the beech-lined slope,
No cuckoo calls, no summer warbler sings,
My feet rustle in dry, faded leaves
Yet clearly in my soul there rings
The faith of recent hope.
My spirit has been tempered by life’s strife,
My native soil now wants to see its master.
Lord, give me strength
And give my home new life!

Photos of Gross-Thurow
The poems may also be read in the original German.