English versions I

Cimitero Staglieno / Genova                                                       

for their hints to the translation thanks to Melissa Pritchard

                                                                               and Kate Wheeler
The grave-diggers hurry out
towards the bar, for their second coffee.
One re-checks his lottery coupon.
The hearses stand in line
across the parking lot: for everyone
the bell is rung.
The coffin and the floral decorations visible:
la differenza sotto gli occhi di tutti.
The drivers waiting by the car doors
sharing their little stories, deeply cheerful.
My hands, sticky from the sweetest brioche
in the whole town.
Inside the drowned girl                 
holds on, stony, to her lifebelt.
The mourning angel is a tall beauty
with a moving arrangement of the folds
which will never calm down.
The horror carved
in the hardest gentleness.
The 19th century a lobby
of worthies, larger than life-size.
The fighter for Italy’s unity
receives the honour of the plastic flowers.
In the army of the little graves,
life-stories ending at last places:
El Alamein, Monte Cassino, Mauthausen.
On terraces, the Allies’ tombstones
rank and file, very white:
paratroopers who jumped off
a twenty, twenty-two years old.

Some sanctuary lamps in the shadows 
of the protestant zone:
free of saints’ pictures

as the placards say.

But here no higher voice
calls to order,
not in the field of the childrens’ tombs,
where the wind has played with the angels,
decapitated a doll,
where the parents have been infirm for a long time
but the children still open their eyes
at the sulphur flash of the photographer.
The dead have a big heart.           
I’m walking and walking around in a circle,
to race off is not easy in this place.
A mini bus stops and the driver promises
that on his way back, sure, he’ll take me with him,
he hasn’t got the time-table in his head
but, as far as he knows, he’ll pass by again.

Two poems in English

for the following translations thanks to Henry Gould

Exactly, W.C.W.      (published in "Tankstellengedichte")

I drank
the milk
left in the

It was so cold
so good
poured from afar
down my throat

so fast it was
hard to taste
hard to believe
that milk

Trakl  / Salzburg / 20th century     (unpublished)

The life of Georg Trakl ended in autumn 1914
at 27 years. In Galicia,

after two or three missions in military hospitals
against which neighter morphine nor cocaine
won any victories.

His favorite sister died young,
five more siblings died later,
without children of their own.

The eldest, Maria, survived them all.

She lived through World War Two,
and more recent Festspiele,

and when she passed away, at ninety,
bequeathed to her home town
some family silver

and a nice little mother-