Friday, December 16, 2011


Georg Trakl (1910)


Monk-girl, close me in your dark;

O you mountains, cool and blue!

Downward bleeds the darkened dew;

In starlight the cross looms stark.

Crimson broke both mouth and lies

In the ruined chambers' cold;

Laughter comes with games of gold,

And the bells' last echo dies.

Mooncloud! wild fruits at night's seam

From the tree fall in the gloom;

And all space becomes a tomb,

The seething of the earth a dream.

from Song of the West
translated by Robert Firmage
(North Point 1988)

The dark and spooky Austrian poet worked as a pharmacist while deep into drug addiction, depression and a royal unraveling. One of his closest friends was Ludwig Wittgenstein, who provided the poet with an anonymous stipend, quite sizable, to assist with his day by day. Nothing helped. The poet was gone to a cocaine overdose at age 27 in the early stages of the first World War. His books of poems feel remarkable in the hands.

photo :