Volume 8 (Fall 2014)

Georg Trakl

              versions by Jay Hoppler

Of the Changing and the Staying the Same

Here, at long last, in the red stillness of the autumn-scorched

Gardens, one understands how difficult and futile life can be.

Before the ache in the eyes subsides: carry brown grapes. After

            the ache in the eyes subsides: carry brown grapes.

In the evenings, you clatter and bang through the black

Country only to find the silence of the red beeches

Impenetrable. There is a blue animal longing for death.

There is an empty robe moldering hideously.

In front of a pub, some drunk plants his face in the grass.

How's that for a scene in the theater of peace!

O that elderberry wine. Flutes, soft and tipsy. And that scent, that


The women are wearing—. What is it?



2. Fassung

Entlang an Gärten, herbstlich, rotversengt:

Hier zeigt im Stillen sich ein tüchtig Leben.

Des Menschen Hände tragen braune Reben,

Indes der sanfte Schmerz im Blick sich senkt.

Am Abend: Schritte gehn durch schwarzes Land

Erscheinender in roter Buchen Schweigen.

Ein blaues Tier will sich vorm Tod verneigen

Und grauenvoll verfällt ein leer Gewand.

Geruhiges vor einer Schenke spielt,

Ein Antlitz ist berauscht in Gras gesunken.

Hollunderfrüchte, Flöten weich und trunken,

Resedenduft, der Weibliches umspült.

The Weathers of Dead Birds

A breeze strums the shrubbery; the red leaves hum. Sunflowers

shine by the fence.

The towheaded girls comb out their locks in the air.

The sun, like a golden cart, rolls through the clouds.

Buried by the deepenings

Of the shadows, the old fools shut up and hug each other.

The Orphan Tabernacle Choir sings O, the vespers sweet.

The steamy, yellow buzzing of flies.

Down by the creek, the women are washing.

The drying linens billow on the line.

And there she is, the girl I have long loved, making her way

through the dusk.

From a balmy sky, into holes green and rotten, sparrows fall.

The smell of bread and spices gives false hope to the hungry.

Im Roten Laubwerk Voll Guitarren

Im roten Laubwerk voll Guitarren

Der Mädchen gelbe Haare wehen

Am Zaun, wo Sonnenblumen stehen.

Durch Wolken fährt ein goldner Karren.

In brauner Schatten Ruh verstummen

Die Alten, die sich blöd umschlingen.

Die Waisen süss zur Vesper singen.

In gelben Dünsten Fliegen summen.

Am Bache waschen noch die Frauen.

Die aufgehängten Linnen wallen.

Die Kleine, die mir lang gefallen,

Kommt wieder durch das Abendgrauen.

Vom lauen Himmel Spatzen stürzen

In grüne Löcher voll Verwesung.

Dem Hungrigen täuscht vor Genesung

Ein Duft von Brot und herben Würzen.

Georg Trakl was born in Salzburg, Austria, in 1887.  His first book, Gedichte (Poems), was published in 1913. He died a year later in a psychiatric hospital in Krakow where is was sent for observation after the human suffering occasioned by WWI, specifically the battle of Gródek, brought him near to a mental collapse. Whether his death was the result of suicide or was an accidental overdose of cocaine is still not known. His second book, Sebastian im Traum (Sebastian in Dream), was published posthumously.

Jay Hopler's poetry, essays, and translations have appeared most recently, or are forthcoming, in The Literary Review, The New Republic, and The New Yorker.  Green Squall, his first book of poetry, won the 2005 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His most recent book is Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry (edited with Kimberly Johnson, Yale University Press, 2013). The recipient of numerous honors including fellowships and awards from the Great Lakes Colleges Association, the Lannan Foundation, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts & Letters/the American Academy in Rome, he is Associate Professor of English at the University of South Florida.

On Libations: A double espresso made by Fabio, the owner of Café Poerio, Monte Verde Vecchio, Roma.