Und die Hörner des Sommers verstummten… / And the horns of summer…

Original by Georg Heym

Und die Hörner des Sommers verstummten im Tode der Fluren,
In das Dunkel flog Wolke auf Wolke dahin.
Aber am Rande schrumpften die Wälder verloren,
Wie Gefolge der Särge in Trauer vermummt.

Laut sang der Sturm im Schrecken der bleichenden Felder,
Er fuhr in die Pappeln und bog einen weißen Turm.
Und wie der Kehricht des Windes lag in der Leere
Drunten ein Dorf, aus grauen Dächern gehäuft.

Aber hinaus bis unten am Grauen des Himmels
Waren aus Korn des Herbstes Zelte gebaut,
Unzählige Städte, doch leer und vergessen.
Und niemand ging in den Gassen herum.

Und es sank der Schatten der Nacht. Nur die Raben noch irrten
Unter den drückenden Wolken im Regen hin,
Einsam im Wind, wie im Dunkel der Schläfen
Schwarze Gedanken in trostloser Stunde fliehn.

Translation by William Ruleman

The horns of summer fell still in the death of the fields,
And cloud on cloud then flew on into the dark.
But on their fringes, the forests sank, forlorn,
Like retinues of coffins cloaked in mourning.

Loud sang the storm in the fright of whitening meadows;
He soared in the poplars and made a pale tower bend;
And, like the sweepings of the wind, there lay
A village heaped from gray roofs in the void.

But out beneath the horrors of the heavens,
Tents had been erected from autumn’s seeds,
Countless cities, though empty and forgotten.
And no one walked around in the streets.

And night’s shadow sank. And only the ravens still strayed
Beneath the clouds that hovered in the rain,
Alone in the wind, as in the gloom of temples,
Blackest thoughts in hopeless hours flee.

William Ruleman is Professor of English at Tennessee Wesleyan University. His most recent volume of poems, From Rage and Hope, has appeared recently from White Violet Books. He has also published two earlier collections of his own poems (A Palpable Presence and Sacred and Profane Loves, both from Feather Books), as well as the following volumes of translation: Poems from Rilke’s Neue Gedichte (WillHall Books, 2003), Vienna Spring: Early Novellas and Stories of Stefan Zweig (Ariadne Press, 2010), and, from Cedar Springs Books, Verse for the Journey: Poems on the Wandering Life by the German Romantics, A Girl and the Weather (poems and prose of Stefan Zweig),and Selected Poems of Maria Luise Weissmann.

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