by Nelly Sachs
Trans. by Teresa Iverson
After the day’s desert,
in the oasis of evening,
over the bridge that love
cried for itself over two worlds,
came your dead boy.
All of your sunken castles-in-the-air
the shards of your flame-wrecked palaces,
songs and blessings
extinct in your sorrow,
shine around him like a fortress
that Death has not captured.
His milk-dewed mouth,
his hand, which overtook yours,
his shadow on the room’s wall
a wing of night, sinking
homeward with the extinguished lamp –
strewn on the shore to God
like bird-scraps in a sea
sounding echo of the child’s prayer
and over the rim of sleep's fallen kiss –
O mother, rememberer,
nothing is yours any more
and everything –
since the plunging stars on their homebound track
search through the poppy fields of forgetfulness
for your heart,
since all your conception
is helpless suffering.
Copyright © 2012 by Teresa Iverson.