Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Georg Heym "Der Abend" 1911 translated by Patrick Bridgwater

It is already late. Wait. The early moon will soon be passing beyond the bridges.
The masts of the silent ships in the harbour are vanishing beneath a pall of smoke.
The houses by the river, which are all asleep, are growing taller and paler in the mist.

O twilight hour. Do not forget. Anyone you meet in the silent streets is pale-faced and does not recognize you.
All windows are lifeless, like pale eyes in the hour of their ultimate need.
The paths are endless and winding, and the darkness is creeping up on you.

Do you hear the footsteps behind you? There is something following you.
Yet when you glance back and peer into every sad corner, there is no one there,
no longer anyone there; everywhere is empty and deserted.

Keep a firm hold on your heart. Take great care. Clouds are rising from the sea.
Night is falling and the undertaker's wind is moaning in the heart of the darkness.
Oh, sad is the hour when evil awakes; by midnight you will be weeping.

from Patrick Bridgwater, Poet of Expressionist Berlin, The Life and Work of Georg Heym, Libris, 1991

Georg Heym, entry in his diary, 30 October 1910:
"When the time comes there should be nothing on my gravestone except the word KEITAI.
No name, nothing. KEITAI. He is sleeping, he is resting."

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