It is as though you'd unexpectedly woken up,
as though long enough you'd been out hunting
for that which escaped you,
as though you had really noticed
what is really there,
as though you had suddenly discovered something,
as though you'd discovered the philosopher's stone,
as though you'd discovered
what the philosopher's stone is good for,
as though it shone,
as though all were initiates whom you ran into
at this street corner like any other,
as though you were one of them —
till the second hand moves on one second,
the traffic light leaps from red to yellow,
and you drive on down the sign-posted road.
Addressee Unknown — Retour a l'expéditeur
Many thanks for the clouds.
Many thanks for the Well-tempered Clavier
and, why not, for the warm winter boots.
Many thanks for my strange brain
and for all manner of other hidden organs,
for the air, and, of course, for the claret.
Heartfelt thanks for my lighter and my desire
not running out of fuel,
as well as my regret, my deep regret.
Many thanks for the four seasons,
for the number e, for my dose of caffeine,
and, of course, for the strawberry dish
painted by Chardin, as well as for sleep,
for sleep quite especially, and,
last not least, for the beginning and the end
and the few minutes in between
even, if you like, for the voles out there in the garden.
Our mortal frame,
they call it.
But what did it hold?
The psychologist will say:
the personal manager.
there's the anima,
the imago, the daemon,
the identity and the Ego,
not to mention the Id
and the Super-Ego.
The butterfly which is to rise
from this very mixed lot
belongs to a species
about which nothing is known.
Hans Magnus Enzensberger
translated by Michael Hamburger
Bloodaxe Books 1997