The Rats

In the farmyard the white moon of autumn shines.
Fantastic shadows fall from the eaves of the roof.
A silence is living in the empty windows;
Now from it the rats emerge softly

And skitter here and there, squeaking,
And a grey malodorous mist from the latrine
Follows behind them, sniffling;
Through the mist the ghostly moonlight quivers.

And the rat squeak eagerly as if insane
And go out to fill the houses and barns
Which are filled full of fruit and grain.
Icy winds quarrel in the darkness.

by Georg Trakl
Translated by James Wright & Robert Bly


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