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Michael R Burch May 2020
To the boy Elis
by Georg Trakl
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Elis, when the blackbird cries from the black forest,
it announces your downfall.
Your lips sip the rock-spring's blue coolness.

Your brow sweats blood
recalling ancient myths
and dark interpretations of birds' flight.

Yet you enter the night with soft footfalls;
the ripe purple grapes hang suspended
as you wave your arms more beautifully in the blueness.

A thornbush crackles;
where now are your moonlike eyes?
How long, oh Elis, have you been dead?

A monk dips waxed fingers
into your body's hyacinth;
Our silence is a black abyss

from which sometimes a docile animal emerges
slowly lowering its heavy lids.
A black dew drips from your temples:

the lost gold of vanished stars.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: I believe that in the second stanza the blood on Elis's forehead may be a reference to the apprehensive ****** sweat of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. If my interpretation is correct, Elis hears the blackbird's cries, anticipates the danger represented by a harbinger of death, but elects to continue rather than turn back. From what I have been able to gather, the color blue had a special significance for Georg Trakl: it symbolized longing and perhaps a longing for death. The colors blue, purple and black may represent a progression toward death in the poem. Keywords/Tags: Georg Trakl, translation, German, Elis, blackbird, black forest, birds, brow, blood, grapes, monk, body, dew, stars
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
To the boy Elis
by Georg Trakl
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Elis, when the blackbird cries from the black forest,
it announces your downfall.
Your lips sip the rock-spring's blue coolness.

Your brow sweats blood
recalling ancient myths
and dark interpretations of birds' flight.

Yet you enter the night with soft footfalls;
the ripe purple grapes hang suspended
as you wave your arms more beautifully in the blueness.

A thornbush crackles;
where now are your moonlike eyes?
How long, oh Elis, have you been dead?

A monk dips waxed fingers
into your body's hyacinth;
Our silence is a black abyss

from which sometimes a docile animal emerges
slowly lowering its heavy lids.
A black dew drips from your temples:

the lost gold of vanished stars.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: I believe that in the second stanza the blood on Elis's forehead may be a reference to the apprehensive ****** sweat of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. If my interpretation is correct, Elis hears the blackbird's cries, anticipates the danger represented by a harbinger of death, but elects to continue rather than turn back. From what I have been able to gather, the color blue had a special significance for Georg Trakl: it symbolized longing and perhaps a longing for death. The colors blue, purple and black may represent a progression toward death in the poem. Keywords/Tags: Georg Trakl, translation, German, Elis, blackbird, black forest, birds, brow, blood, grapes, monk, body, dew, stars
OpenWorldView Jan 2019
not with bombs
nor with bullets.

War fed his soul
with torn up bodies,
and cut off limbs.

War drowned his senses
with the smell of blood
and rotting flesh.

War broke his will
with man's capacity
for boundless cruelty.
Georg Trakl (1887 - 1914)
At night Georg pangs blue whisper
for the lonely boy's return ,
with a red cloak worn to sunset.
Crimson for the harlots shadow,
and narcassis for the loss of innocence.
The skyline disappears once again
as blackness returns the night.
The outsiders bath in the squalid  moonlight,
abluting their good intentions.
The metamorphosis is complete.
Darkness will reign supreme.
They gather by the smithy
opining with a wild lament .
At night Georg snags blue whisper, with a purple cloak worn to sunrise,
the crimson red for the deceased heart.
snags instead of paint
Mike Essig Apr 2015
An Evening In Winter**

When snow kisses
my window
the evening bells
seem to peal forever...

The table is set,
the house neat,
prepared to receive.

From wandering,
many follow
their dusky paths
to this portal.

The earth's cool sap
sprouts a flowering tree
dripping golden grace.

Be still, sojourner, step in:
Sorrow has worried
this threshold
to naked stone.

But  look:
wrapped in pristine,
radiant light,
there on the table,
shine bread and wine.
  - trans. mce
Trakl was a mad - really - German poet. In German his words are flames; in English, not so much.

— The End —