|The Main Stage
Itís snowing in the streetlampís circle of light
and not only there, most likely the whole night
is filled with falling snow, a plaster mask
on a face thatís been renewed by plastic surgery
but isnít ready yet to break out of its hard cocoon.
The healing takes place in the dark, and the dark
has a place in us where we find the courage
to endure the knife that carves beauty
into our faces. Afterwards we can return from there
to a new name and a new death
while the white powder runs
through our fingers, runs and runs
through our fingers.
If you left your room, went out
and came back after fifteen minutes,
your first footsteps would be erased by then.
Meanwhile new faces have already made
ďan indelible impressionĒ in the throng on the Main Stage
where what used to be gets lost in the deep pile of the plush.
If weíve been here without leaving any tracks,
have we been here? Donít we all deserve
thundering applause before we stream out
of the enormous wedding-cake theater?
For a few minutes more we speak in blank verse.
After that, in gray overcoats, we play the night,
which is nothing but a darkened stage
where someoneís forgotten to turn off a spotlight
though everyoneís stepped out of the spot.
In the rows of seats the velvet has gone dark
along with programs left behind. Everything plays itself,
including the box seats, whose gilt
is only a myth about a vanished golden age
when the crystal chandeliers could light up the theater
and at the same time reflect it in their prisms,
multiplied into a thousand miniatures.
The stage is contained in each crystal.
Every night The Tempest is performed there.
Now itís blowing through the world.
We hear the crystals rattling.
Translated by Roger Greenwald
Translation © 2004 by Roger Greenwald; all rights
Two other poems by Gunnar Harding are available
in the printed version of the ARS INTERPRES