Johannes Bobrowski

(1917-1965 / Tilsit, East Prussia)

Midstream - Poem by Johannes Bobrowski

Drifting down with the rafts,
in the lighter grey of the strange
shore, in a
splendour, which withdraws, in the grey
of slanting surfaces, light
shot at us from mirrors.

The Baptist's head
lay on its torn brow,
a hand with loose bluish
nails clawing
the ragged hair.

When I loved you, restless
your heart, the food on the beating
fire, your mouth, which opened,
open, the river
was a rain and flew
with the herons, leaves
fell and filled its bed.

We bent over numbed
fish, the cricket's song,
clad in scales, crossed
the sand from the foliage
of the bank, we had come
to sleep, Noman
circled the bed, Noman
extinguished the mirrors, Noman
will wake us
in our time.

Poet's Notes about The Poem

Translated by Ruth and Matthew Mead

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Poem Edited: Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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