Georg Trakl: ‘The West’ (3)


Emil Nolde. ‘Sonnenuntergang am Fluss’. Watercolor on paper. Emil Nolde Stiftung, Seebüll, Neukirchen, Nordfriesland Germany.

Here is my translation of the third and final section of Georg Trakl’s poem ‘The West’. Trakl’s German original follows.


You great cities
Raised up in stone
Upon the plain!
So mutely follows
The homeless one
With darkened brow the wind,
The naked trees on the hill.
You far-fading rivers!
Hideous sunsets
Violently on edge
In the stormcloud.
You perishing tribes!
Pallid wave
Breaking on the shore of night,
Falling stars.


Ihr großen Städte
Steinern aufgebaut
In der Ebene!
So sprachlos folgt
Der Heimatlose
Mit dunkler Stirne dem Wind,
Kahlen Bäumen am Hügel.
Ihr weithin dämmernden Ströme!
Gewaltig ängstet
Schaurige Abendröte
Im Sturmgewölk.
Ihr sterbenden Völker!
Bleiche Woge
Zerschellend am Strande der Nacht,
Fallende Sterne.





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