Ingeborg Bachmann: “Paris”


Broken on the wheel of night,
the lost ones sleep
in thundering tunnels deep below.
But wherever we are is light.

We have armfuls of flowers,
mimosas from the many years.
Gold falls from bridge to bridge
breathlessly into the river.

The light is cold,
but colder still is the stone by the door,
and the shells of all the water wells
are already half empty.

What will happen if we, the homesick,
dazed right down to the roots of our hair,
remain here: what will happen
if we keep insisting on beauty?

Lifted high on wagons of light,
we wake, but still are lost
on streets of genius, high above.
And wherever we are not is night.

Ingeborg Bachmann

Translated from German by Paul Weinfield, © 2015
Photo by Ryan McGinley

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