The ominous anger of masses of men
Is like the wild organ of the winter storm,
The purple surge of battle,
Leafless stars.

With broken eyebrows and silver arms
The night waves to dying soldiers.
In the shade of the ash tree of autumn
The souls of the slain are sighing.

A thorny desert surrounds the city.
The moon chases the shocked women
From the bleeding stairways.
Wild wolves have broken through the door.

Reproduced from Twenty Poems of Georg Trakl, translated and chosen by James Wright and Robert Bly http://www.dreamsongs.com/Files/Trakl.pdf

An alternative translation can be found in John Greening’s To the War Poets http://www.carcanet.co.uk/cgi-bin/indexer?product=9781906188085

Commentary by Carol Rumens on John Greening’s translation http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/nov/18/poem-of-the-week-georg-trakl



Im Osten

Den wilden Orgeln des Wintersturms
Gleicht des Volkes finstrer Zorn,
Die purpurne Woge der Schlacht,
Entlaubter Sterne.

Mit zerbrochnen Brauen, silbernen Armen
Winkt sterbenden Soldaten die Nacht.
Im Schatten der herbstlichen Esche
Seufzen die Geister der Erschlagenen.

Dornige Wildnis umgürtet die Stadt.
Von blutenden Stufen jagt der Mond
Die erschrockenen Frauen.
Wilde Wölfe brachen durchs Tor.