Static Poems

Translated by Michael Hofmann
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.
More Poems by Gottfried Benn