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Frans_Jozef
Sunday, January 2nd, 2005, 03:17 AM
Bleak Summer

Without a pause the days so ravage,
No sun has shone, the world of gray,
And with their winds so harsh and savage
They rain the last hope out of life away.

No longer incensed on the way to the grave,
With peace one waits for fate's last breath
And thinks about what comes beyond the wave:
Autumn and old age, winter and death.


After Liberation

I

Beautiful and radiant, just like then, is the spring,
Cold of morning, but as the days open up
Further, the eternal light is a miracle
For those who have been saved.
In the transparent haze upon the fallow
Land plow once again the slow workhorses
As always, even as the near-by distances
Rumble with war.
To have experienced this, to say this
with body still whole, every time awakening again
To know: it is over, and now forever, the almost
Unbearable servitude—
Worth it it was, to have languished five years,
Now rising up, then giving in again, and not
One of the unborn shall ever fully grasp
Freedom in this way.e


II

Regular measure of the returning seasons!
What is the heart that has ever feared,
Knowing spring would come to liberate it,
Radiant as it has ever been.
Ever in the present, indestructible
Life that flowers out above death,
And the smallest of complaints seems barely audible
Where the rye about the ruins grows.


Homeward Traveler

In the train. Time passes with dream.
Upon the panes sways the sunset hour.
Once I have arrived at your door,
Shall I once again be closer to my death.

But there I shall have sat myself down
in satiety and in the lamp's soft glow.
Everything I shall have forgotten
But this one thing: to be with you.

This love knows neither turn nor going,
Knows not distance and fleeting hour;
The one forced by its desire
In its hunger for eternity.

O I cannot make my heart believe
--Heart, grown used to every absence--
That a moment can extinguish
That for which a life is not too long.


The Cottage in the Dunes

Wallflowers blossomed in front of the low window.
The late afternoon sunlight was warm and bronze,
and the undisturbed silence sounded like a hum
of many small wings beating together.

And behind the small, protected house
rose up the bleached-white sanddunes:
a clear sky stood above their crowns;
almost inaudible was the surf of the sea.

Here, the power of misfortune seemed to fade,
for a moment. Here, happiness seemed obtainable,
the heavy pressures of daily life avoidable
within the borders of a limited existence.

What is this obsession so ingrained for people
that it will not allow for the fulfillment of desire,
that they are by their weak hearts refused
that for which they chased after, all their lives?


The Dapperstreet

Nature is for the self-satisfied or vain.
And yet: what is left of nature in this land?
A bit of forest the size of a paper,
A hill with a few estates on its side.

Give me the gray of big city boulevards,
The riveted embankments of water's edge,
The clouds, never as beautiful as when, framed
In attic windows, they float by in the sky.

Everything is much for one who expects little.
Life holds its wonders deeply hidden
Until, all at once, it reveals them at their best.

All of this I've thought over to myself,
Wet with rain, on a drizzly dull morning,
Witlessly happy, on the Dapperstreet.


Rondel

The short of love and the long of suffering,
It becomes a thing that one forgets.
Remembered again, then one says: I know,
It was at the time not to be avoided.

Does one the confinement sometimes envy
Compared to this absence of pain?
And yet, short love and longer suffering,
It becomes a thing that one forgets.

Life's erstwhile hot and colds
One begins to see as time goes on
As the slipping away of but an hour.
O youth, was this why one cried out?
One becomes a thing and one forgets.


Snow

It 's snowing. To the swarming silence the winds give up their wings.
The unbaised heavens are not to be mollified like existence.
—The righteous snows fall upon those scorned and those loved.
The snow falls on the stones under which the dead decay.


Epitaph

Nameless among the nameless that are legion,
to general sameness seemingly subdued;
to no high seat o'er some unthreatened region
exalted - to no radiant altitude -

The safely sheltered ever and anon
bore with him, or forgot him, but none saw
the shadow of two wings that drove him on,
and in his bent neck the relentless claw.

And now, after desire, tired and outworn,
and lifelong patience under restless strain,
a tombstone, cracked by weeds, and weatherworn
letters and figures filled by the slow rain.