The Present

Glimpsed on various days,
the poplars on Leopoldstrasse,
but always autumnal,
always wraiths of misty sunshine
or bits of rain-embroidery.

Where are you, when you walk at my side?
Always wraiths from distant times,
past and to come:
dwelling in caves,
the endless troglodytic period,
the bitter taste of the columns of Heliogabalus
and the hotels of St. Moritz.
The gray caves, tenements
where happiness begins,
gray happiness.

The pressure of your arm answering me,
the archipelago, the chain of islands, latterly sandbanks,
dimly perceived residue
of the sweetness of our conjunction.

(But you are of my blood,
over these stones, beside the garden shrubs,
old men resting on the park bench
and the rumbling of the number 6 tram,
anemone, present
with the power of water in your eye
and the freshness of your lip.)

And always wraiths, spinning us in,
suspension of the present,
unvalid love,
proof that we are subject to chance,
sparse poplar leaves
factored in by the municipality,
autumn in the gutters,
the questions posed by happiness satisfactorily answered.

Günter Eich
Angina Days: Selected Poems
Princeton University Press
Tradução de Michael Hoffman

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