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By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered

By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered. Dietrich Bonhoeffer* (1906-1945), translated by Fred Pratt Green* (1903-2000). This poem was sent by Bonhoeffer from prison to his mother in a letter dated 28 December 1944, as a New Year Greeting to her and his friends at the opening of the final year of his life, before his execution on 9 April 1945. The German text, beginning ‘Von guten Mächten wunderbar geborgen’, was printed in a hymn book for young people, Die singende Schar (‘The singing flock’) (Berlin, 1959). The World Council of Churches printed it in Cantate Domino (1974) with a tune written for the words by Joseph Gelineau*. Pratt Green was asked to make an English translation, which...

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