The hope a mooncalf follows
is sacrifice for slaughter,
and yet the wings of swallows
still skip across the water. 

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An Autumn Evening

The brown village. A darkness often treads
Along the walls that stand in autumn. Mock-
Shapes: man as well as woman, dead now, walk
In the cold parlours to prepare their beds.
 
Here young boys play. A heavy shadow spreads
Over brown dung. Servant women walk
Through the moist blue, and sometimes their eyes mock
It, longing, as bells toll above their heads.
 
An inn leans for the down and lonely there.
Patiently it waits beneath dark arches,
Moved by clouds of gold tobacco smoke,
 
Yet always black and near. A stranger soaked
In booze stands in the shade of older arches
After the wild birds take to the air.
 
after the German of Georg Trakl (1887-1914)
translated by Leo Yankevich
first appeared in The New Formalist
 
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© by Leo Yankevich
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