Peter Huchel

(1903-1981 / Germany)

Eastern River


Do not look for the stones
in water above the mud,
the boat is gone.
No longer with nets and baskets
the river is dotted.
The sun wick,
the marsh marigold flickered out in rain.

Only the willow still bears witness,
in its roots
the secrets of tramps lie hidden,
their paltry treasures,
a rusty fishhook,
a bottle full of sand,
a tine with no bottom,
in which to preserve
conversations long forgotten.

On the boughs,
empty nests of the penduline titmice,
shoes light as birds.
No one slips them
over children's feet.


Translated by Michael Hamburger

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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