Little AsterA drowned drayman was hoisted on to the slab.
Someone had jammed a lavender aster
between his teeth.
As I made the incision up from the chest
with a long knife
under the skin
to cut out tongue and gums,
I must have nudged it because it slipped
into the brain lying adjacent.
I packed it into the thoracic cavity
with the excelsior
when he was sewn up.
Drink your fill in your vase!
§ § §
Last SpringFill yourself up with the forsythias
and when the lilacs flower, stir them in too
with your blood and happiness and wretchedness,
the dark ground that seems to come with you.
Sluggish days. All obstacles overcome.
And if you say: ending or beginning, who knows,
then maybe --- just maybe --- the hours will carry you
into June, when the roses blow.--- Gottfried Benn (1886 - 1956)
Michael Hofmann, Translator