Static Poems

By Gottfried Benn Gottfried Benn

Translated By Michael Hofmann Read the translator's notes

Deafness to imperatives
is profundity in the wise man,
children and grandchildren
don’t bother him,
don’t alarm him.

To represent a particular outlook,
to act,
to travel hither and yon
are all signs of a world
that doesn’t see clearly.
In front of my window
wise man says
is a valley
where shadows pool,
two poplars mark a path,
leading you will know where to.

Perspective
is another word for stasis:
you draw lines,
they ramify
like a creeper
tendrils explode
and they disburse crows in swarms
in the winter red of early dawns

then let them settle

you will knowfor whom.

Source: Poetry (November 2009).

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2009

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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