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

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Asters

Asters—sweltering days,
old entreaty, spell,
the gods shed timid rays,
an hour upon the scale.
 
Once more the golden flocks,
the sky, the light, the veil.
What breeds the familiar flux
of wings before they fail?
 
Once more now the lust,
the rush of roses, and you—
the summer’s leaned to watch
the swallows skirt the dew,
 
and once more does not falter,
sure dark precedes new light:
the swallows drink the water
and fade into the night.
 
 
after the German of Gottfried Benn (1886-1956)
translated by Leo Yankevich first appeared in Trinacria
 
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© by Leo Yankevich
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