Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



Every Day

(English translation of 'Alle Tage' by Ingeborg Bachmann)

War is no longer declared,
only continued. The extraordinary
has become everyday. The hero
dodges the battle. The weak
are moved into the firing line.
The uniform of the day is patience,
the highest medal - the pitiful star
of hope pinned above the heart.

It's awarded
when nothing more happens,
when the drumfire falls silent,
when the enemy has become invisible
and the shadow of unending armament
darkens the sky.

It's awarded
for deserting the flag,
for courage in the face of the friend,
for the disclosure of dirty secrets
and the disregard
of every command.

For more translations of poems by Ingeborg Bachmann, go to Translations.

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