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Georg Trakl in Translation

IN SPRING The snow sank softly from dark footfalls, In the tree-shadow Lovers raise their rosy eyelids. Star and night always follow the dark calls Of the boatman; And the oars gently keep stroke. Soon beside a ruined wall Violets bloom, Turning green the temples of the solitary man. BIRTH Mountain ranges: blackness, silence and snow. Red from the forest the hunt returns; O the mossy looks of the prey. Maternal stillness; beneath black firs The sleeping hands are open wide, When the cold moon appears in its decay. O the birth of man. Nightly Blue water roars in the rocky glen; Sighing, the fallen angel spies his image; Someone pale awakes in a musty room. Twin moons Are the glitteri

On Discovering the Poetry of Georg Trakl

I first encountered the poetry of Georg Trakl in The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry. Then, in about 1985, I came across an edition of Die Dichtungen in a second-hand bookshop on the Bristol Road in Birmingham. This book, in its blue cloth binding and printed on lovely cream-coloured paper, was published by the Otto Müller Verlag in Salzburg. It was formerly the property of Saltley School library. Given its pristine condition, I couldn’t imagine it having been borrowed very often. At the time Saltley brought to mind the miners’ strike of 1972 during which Arthur Scargill’s flying pickets had successfully blockaded the entrance to the coke works. Today Saltley School is an academy, one

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