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The day of reckoning

(English translation of 'Die gestundete Zeit' by Ingeborg Bachmann)

Harder days are coming.
The day of reckoning
looms on the horizon.
Soon you must lace up your boots
and drive the hounds back to the marshland farmyards.
For now the guts of fish
have chilled in the wind.
The light of lupins burns feebly.
Your gaze gropes through the fog:
the day of reckoning
looms on the horizon.

Yonder your loved one sinks into the sand;
it rises up to her wavy hair,
it shouts her down,
it orders her to be silent,
it finds she's mortal
and ready to leave
after every embrace.

Don't look around.
Lace up your boots.
Drive back the hounds.
Toss the fish into the sea.
Snuff out the lupins!

Harder days are coming.

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

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