Poetry       Prose       Letters

Georg Trakl



In the lonely hours of the spirit
It is beautiful to walk in the sun
Along the yellow walls of summer.
Gently steps sound in the grass; but always
The son of Pan sleeps in the gray marble.

Evenings on the terrace we got drunk with brown wine.
The peach glows reddish in the foliage;
Soft sonata, glad laughter.

Beautiful is the stillness of night.
On a dark plain
We meet with shepherds and white stars.

When autumn has come
A sober clarity appears in the grove.
Soothed, we stroll along red walls
And round eyes follow the flight of birds.
In the evening white water sinks into funeral urns.

The sky celebrates in bare branches.
In pure hands the countryman carries bread and wine
And the fruits ripen peacefully in a sunny chamber.

O how earnest is the countenance of the beloved dead.
But righteous viewing delights the soul.

The silence of the ravaged garden is immense,
When the young novice wreaths his forehead with brown leaves,
His breath drinks icy gold.

The hands touch the age of bluish waters
Or in cold night the white cheeks of the sisters.

Soft and harmonious is a walk along friendly rooms
Where solitude is and the maple's rustling,
Where perhaps the thrush still sings.

Beautiful is man and appearing in darkness,
When marveling he moves arms and legs,
And the eyes roll silently in purple sockets.

At vespers, the stranger is lost in November's black destruction,
Under rotten branches, along walls full of leprosy,
Where the holy brother had walked before
Rapt in the gentle string music of his insanity,

O how lonely the evening wind ends.
Dying away the head bends down in the darkness of the olive tree.

Devastating is the decline of the race.
In this hour the eyes of the beholder fill
With the gold of his stars.

In the evening, bells that no longer ring sink down,
The black walls crumble by the square,
The dead soldier calls for prayer.

A pale angel
The son steps into the empty house of his fathers.

The sisters have gone far away to white old men.
At night the sleeper found them under columns in the hallway
Returned from sad pilgrimages.

O how their hair stiffens with excrement and worms
When he stands in it with silver feet,
And they step deceased from bleak rooms.

O you psalms in fiery midnight rains
When servants smite gentle eyes with nettles,
The childlike fruits of the elderberry
Bend astonished over an empty grave.

Softly yellowed moons roll
Over the youth's feverish linen
Before the silence of winter follows.

An exalted destiny ponders down the Kidron,
Where the cedar, a delicate creature,
Unfolds under the blue brows of the father,
Over the meadow at night a shepherd leads his flock.
Or there are screams in sleep,
When a brazen angel approaches man in the grove,
The saint's flesh melts on the glowing grate.

Around clay huts purple vines climb,
Resounding sheaves of yellowed corn,
The humming of bees, the flight of the crane.
In the evening the resurrected meet on rocky paths.

Lepers are reflected In black waters;
Or they open their excrement-tainted robes
Weeping to the balmy wind that blows from the rosy hill.

Slender maids grope through the alleys of the night
So they might find the loving shepherd.
Saturdays a soft singing sounds in the huts.

Let the song also commemorate the boy,
His insanity, and white brows and his passing away,
The decayed one, who bluishly opens the eyes.
O how sad is this reunion.

The stages of insanity in black rooms,
The shadows of the aged under the open door,
When Helian's soul looks at itself in the rosy mirror
And snow and leprosy sink from his forehead.

On the walls the stars have died
And the white figures of light.

Skeletons from graves rise out of the carpet,
The silence of decayed crosses on the hill,
The sweetness of incense in the purple night wind.

O you shattered eyes in black mouths,
When the grandson in gentle derangement
Ponders the darker ending alone,
The silent God lowers blue eyelids over him.


© Jim Doss & Werner Schmitt



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