Rosa Luxemburg
Letters to Sophie Liebknecht

Wronke, May 19, 1917

... It is so lovely here now! Everything is green and burgeoning. The foliage of the horse-chestnuts is resplendent; the currant bushes arecovered with clusters of yellow stars; the cherry tree, with its reddish leaves, is already in flower; and the black alder will soon blossom.

Louise Kautsky visited me today. As a parting gift she gave me some forget-me-nots and some pansies. They’ve all settled themselves in so nicely; I can hardly believe my eyes, for this is the first time in my life I ever did any planting out. By Whitsuntide I shall have such a lot of flowers under my window!

There is a great variety of newly arrived birds here now.

Hardly a day passes without my making acquaintance with a bird I have never seen before. By the way, you remember that morning in the Botanical Gardens with Karl when we were listening to the nightingale. We saw a huge tree whose leaves were not yet showing, but it was covered with small white flowers; we were all puzzled what it could be, for obviously it was not a fruit tree, and the flowers were quite unfamiliar. I know now! It was a white poplar, and what we thought were flowers were not flowers at all but young leaves. The fully grown leaf of the white poplar is white only on the under surface, whilst the upper surface is dark green; but the young leaves are still covered on both sides with white down, and they shine in the sunlight like flowers.

There is a huge white poplar in my garden, and all the song birds like this tree the best. That same day both of you came to see me in the evening; do you remember? We had such a lovely time, reading aloud to one another. Towards midnight, when we were standing saying goodbye (such a delightful breeze laden with the odour of jasmine came in through the window opening on the verandah) I recited to you the Spanish song of which I am so fond:

Be praise to him through whom these worlds arose!
How wonderful he made this span increasing!
He made the ocean’s endless deep repose,
He made the ships that pass across unceasing,
He made yon paradise of calmed radiance,
He made the Earth, dear – and thy countenance.

Sonitchka, if you have never heard that sung to the accompaniment of Wolf’s music, you cannot imagine the intensity of passion in those two concluding words.

As I write, a great bumble-bee has flown into the room, and fills it with a diapason tone. How lovely it is; how keen the joy of life conveyed by this rich note, vibrant with energy, summer heat and the scent of flowers.

Cheer up, Sonitchka, and write to me soon, soon; I am longing to hear from you.

Your Rosa

Last updated on: 16.12.2008