Georg Trakl: The West (2)


Kolomon Moser. ‘Ausblick durch Stämme’. Oil on canvas, 1907.

Here is my translation of the second part of Georg Trakl’s three-part poem ‘The West’. Trakl’s German original follows.


So soft are the green woods
Of our homeland,
The crystal waves
Dying away on the crumbled wall,
And we have wept in sleep;
They wander singing with hesitant steps
Along the thorny hedge,
In the evening summer,
In the sacred peace
Of the far-shining vineyard;
Shadows now in the cool lap
Of night, sorrowing eagles.
So softly a shaft of moonlight closes
The empurpled wounds of sadness.


So leise sind die grünen Wälder
Unsrer Heimat,
Die kristallene Woge
Hinsterbend an verfallner Mauer
Und wir haben im Schlaf geweint;
Wandern mit zögernden Schritten
An der dornigen Hecke hin
Singende im Abendsommer,
In heiliger Ruh
Des fern verstrahlenden Weinbergs;
Schatten nun im kühlen Schoß
Der Nacht, trauernde Adler.
So leise schließt ein mondener Strahl
Die purpurnen Male der Schwermut.


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