“Still is the world, this gorgeous world entirely resilient”

From his prison cell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:

My dear parents,

Before me is the most colorful bouquet of dahlias you brought me yesterday, reminding me of the lovely hour I was able to spend with you, and of the garden and simply of how beautiful the world be can in these autumn days. A stanza that I came across from [Theodor] Storm resonates with this mood and echoes over and over in my consciousness, like a melody one can’t get out of one’s mind: “If outside it’s all gone bad / in Christian ways or not / still is the world, this gorgeous world / entirely resilient.” A few colorful fall flowers, a glance out of the cell window, and a half hour’s “exercise” in the prison yard, in which a pair of beautiful chestnut and linden trees stand, suffice to confirm this. Yet in the end the “world” is summed up, at least for me, in a few people one wants to see and with whom one wishes to be together. These occasional appearances by you and Maria for a short hour, as if from far away, are actually that from which and for which I primarily live. This is being in touch with the world where I belong. If in addition I could occasionally hear a good sermon on Sundays – sometimes the wind bears fragments of hymns to me – it would be even lovelier.

Letters and Papers from Prison


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