Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Night
By Wilhelm Klemm
 
From “Modern German Poems”
Translated by Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky

THE RIVER mutters to itself in the darkness
Like an actor rehearsing his role by night.
At intervals one hears Time’s eyelashes flutter.
 
People are sleeping—some upon pillows, some upon white cliffs.
Some of them have immense terrible thumbs.        5
Women toss their long hair across their faces.
 
Meanwhile grey castles slowly fall to ruin;
Thin black grasses arise;
Mountains uplift their white antlers.
 
Lord, give me a sign that you still live!        10
I begin to freeze and to be afraid.
It is already midnight. Hark!
 
The minster begins to sing in his brazen voice:
An old sentinel full of strength and troth,
Who, chanting, cries the hour and then is still.        15
 
Then night sinks deeper into dreamless dark.
Only the river rehearses its spectral role:
To be or not to be …
 
 
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