No. 4 & 5


Georg Trakl  

Translated from the German by Margitt Lehbert  



September evening; dolefully the dark calls of shepherds resound
Through the twilight village; fire sparks in the smithy.
A black horse rears immense; the maid's hyacinthian curls
Strive for the ardor of his purple nostrils.
Softly the hind's cry grows rigid at the forest's edge
And the yellow flowers of autumn
Bend mutely over the lake's blue countenance.
In red flames a tree burned down; bats flutter up with dark faces.

By the Moor

Wayfarer in the black wind; the dry reed whispers softly
In the silence of the moor. Against the grey sky
A flock of wild birds follows;
Diagonals above dark waters.

Commotion. In a decrepit hut
Decay flutters up with black wings;
Crippled birches sigh in the wind.

Evening in a deserted tavern. The way home is scented
By the gentle melancholy of grazing herds,
Nocturnal apparition: toads surfacing from silver waters.

Evening in Lans

Journey on foot through twilight summer
Past bundles of yellowed wheat. Beneath whitewashed arches
Where the swallow flew in and out, we drank fiery wine.

Lovely: o melancholy and purple laughter.
Evening and the dark scents of green
Cool our burning brows with shudders.

Silver waters trickle over the steps of the forest,
Night, and mute a forgotten life.
Friend; the leafy footpaths to the village.

Autumnal Soul

Blood-baying and the hunter's call;
Behind the cross and the brown hill
The mirror of the pond dulls softly
And the hawk cries hard and bright.

Above the stubble-field and path
A black silence already trembles;
Pure sky between the branches;
The brook alone runs soft and true.

Soon fish and deer will glide away.
Blue soul and dark wanderings
Soon severed us from loved ones, others.
Evening switches sense and image.

A good life's bread and wine,
God, into your mild hands
Man places his dark end,
All guilt and all red torment.

The Wayfarer

White night forever leans against the hill
Where the poplar looms in silver sounds,
Where stars exist and stones.

Sleeping, a footbridge arches across the torrent,
The boy is followed by a lifeless face,
Crescent moon in a roseate chasm

Far from praising shepherds. Between old rocks
The toad peers from crystal eyes,
The blossoming wind awakens, bird voice of the death-like one
And the steps grow softly green in the forest.

This calls tree and animal to mind. Slow steps of moss;
And the moon
Sinking radiantly into sad waters.

He returns and strolls by the green shore,
Rocks through the crumbling city in a little black gondola.

In Venice

Silence in the dusky room.
The candelabrum flickers silver
Before the singing breath
Of the lonely one;
Magical clouds of roses.

A blackish swarm of flies
Darkens the stone room
And the head of the homeless one
Bristles with the agony
Of a golden day.

Night on the motionless sea.
Star and blackish journey
Vanished along the canal.
Child, your sickly smile
Followed me softly in my sleep.

      In Homage to Else Lasker-Schüler


Moon like a dead thing emerging
From a blue cave,
And many blossoms fall
Onto the cliff path.
Something ill cries silvery
By the evening pond,
On a black barge
Lovers crossed over into death.

Or Elis's steps
Chime through the grove,
The hyacinthian grove,
And fade again beneath oaks.
O the boy's form
Shaped by crystal tears
And dusky shadows.
Zigzag lightning brightens the brow,
The ever cool brow,
When a spring storm sounds
By the verdant hill.


The green forests of our country
Are so still,
The crystal wave
Dying slowly by the crumbling wall
And we have cried in our sleep;
In the evening summer, singing people
Walk with hesitant steps
Along the thorny hedge
In the holy calm
Of the vineyard's distant, dying light;
Shadows now in the cool womb
Of night, mourning eagles.
Very softly a lunar ray closes
The purple stigmata of melancholy.


You great stone cities
Built on the plain!
The homeless one
Follows the wind So speechlessly
With his dark brow,
Follows the bare trees along the hill.
You streams, growing dusky in the distance!
The horrifying red of sunset
In storm clouds
Causes wretched fear.
You dying peoples!
Pale wave
Shattering on the shore of night,
Falling stars.



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