Poetry       Prose       Letters

Georg Trakl



Dedicated to Karl Kraus

It is a light the wind has extinguished.
It is a village inn a drunkard abandons in the afternoon.
It is a vineyard burned and black with holes full of spiders.
It is a room they have whitewashed with milk.
The lunatic is dead. It is an island in the South Pacific
To receive the sun god. One beats the drums.
The men perform warlike dances.
When the sea sings, women sway their hips
between climbing plants and fire flowers. O our lost paradise.

The nymphs have deserted the golden forests.
You bury the stranger. Then a shimmering rain begins.
The son of Pan appears in the guise of an excavator
Who sleeps away the midday near the glowing asphalt.
It is the small girls in a courtyard in little dresses full of heartbreaking poverty!
It is the rooms filled with chords and sonatas.
It is the shadows that embrace before a blind mirror.
By the windows of the hospital convalescents warm themselves.
A white steamboat in the canal bears bloody epidemics along.

The strange sister appears again in someone's evil dreams.
Resting in the hazel bush, she plays with his stars.
The student, possibly a double, looks after her from the window for a long time.
His dead brother stands behind him, or he descends the old spiral staircase.
In the darkness of brown chestnuts the figure of the young novice grows pale.
The garden in evening. In the cloister the bats flutter about.
The caretaker's children stop to play and search the gold of heaven.
Closing chords of a quartet. The small blind girl runs trembling through the avenue,
And later her shadow gropes along cold walls surrounded by fairy tales and holy legends.

It is an empty boat drifting down the black canal in the evening.
In the somberness of the old asylum human ruins decay.
The dead orphans lie by the garden wall.
From gray rooms angels step with excrement-splattered wings.
Worms drip from their yellowed eyelids.
The plaza before the church is sinister and silent, like in the days of childhood.
On silver soles former lives glide past
And the shadows of the damned descend to the sighing waters.
In his grave the white magician plays with his snakes.

Silently over the place of skulls God's golden eyes open.


© Jim Doss & Werner Schmitt



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