Die tote Stadt I

In Memory of Erich Wolfgang Korngold

 

This is the view then,

Of a city thought most beautiful.

To the north and south, the east, the west,

 

Hillsides are terraced

As if they were ziggurats.

They point to a violet, cloud-stippled sky.

 

Beneath the cypress tree where I pause,

I notice a memorial plaque:

“This is the city which she loved.”

 

I do not sit and rest.

I stand with my knapsack,

The center of compass.

 

Poised on high,

I am the keeper of a sadness from the deep.

This sadness never sleeps.

 

The first faint stars,

A crescent moon,

Each is an inscrutable rune.

 

There is no remedy in heaven.

Questing, I leave here unenlightened,

Unassuaged.

 

As I descend the moss-stained stair,

From deep within the heart,

Hurt continues its drum roll,

 

Step by step to the landing.

There, the closer, more vivid view

Takes my breath.

 

I continue the descent,

For I live elsewhere.

Do not ask me where.

 

December 31 2008/January 1, 2009


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