Asters

By Gottfried Benn Gottfried Benn

Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann Read the translator's notes

Asters—sweltering days
old adjuration/curse,
the gods hold the balance
for an uncertain hour.

Once more the golden flocks
of heaven, the light, the trim—
what is the ancient process
hatching under its dying wings?

Once more the yearned-for,
the intoxication, the rose of you—
summer leaned in the doorway
watching the swallows—

one more presentiment
where certainty is not hard to come by:
wing tips brush the face of the waters,
swallows sip speed and night.

Source: Poetry (March 2012).

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2012

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