Secrets of the Craft
It is like this: a sort of lassitude,
Unceasing in my ears a striking clock;
Far off a roll of thunder dies away.
I seem to hear the groans and mourning of
Voices imprisoned and unrecognised,
The narrowing of a certain secret ring,
Yet in this tingling, whispering abyss
One all-subduing sound stands out so clear
That round about unbroken stillness reigns,
So that one hears the grass grow in the wood,
Misery pace Earth with his beggar’s bag.
But now already words are audible
And signal chimes of rhymes as light as air —
Then, then, I do begin to understand
And simply as they are dictated, lines
Lie down upon my snow-white writing pad.
6 Last Poem
One poem like someone’s anxious thunderclap,
Bursts into my house, full of the breath of life,
Laughs, utters from its throat a tremulous sound,
And spins around and claps its hands.
The next, out of midnight-stillness born,
From whence I do not know, steals up on me;
As from the empty looking-glass it stares
And mutters something stern.
But there are some like this: in broad daylight
As though they had not noticed me at all,
They stream forth on the paper’s white expanse
Like a pure spring in its ravine
And then again a secret one prowls round —
No sound, no colour: neither hue nor sound,
It saunters by, changes its shape and struggles
And will not let itself be taken alive.
But this one drop by drop has drunk my blood
As in my youth a vicious wench — my love,
And saying not a single word to me,
Moved back into the silence once again.
Nor have I known more cruel misery
Than one which went; its tracks stretched on and on
Towards some far-distant land,
Yet without it … I die.
10 [There is much, probably, that still desires]
There is much, probably, that still desires
Its celebration by this voice of mine:
That which rumbles, beyond the reach of words,
Or underground in darkness grinds on stone,
Or beats its way along through smoke.
I have reckonings not yet resolved
With flame and with water and the wind…
That is why for me my drowsings
All of a sudden fling such gates wide open
And carry me beyond the morning star.