Viennese Waltz

- 1893-963

Dresden china shepherdesses
Whirl in the silver sunshine:
Columbine stars
Float in gauze petticoats of light…

Little Columbine ghosts, wrinkled and old,
Smelling of jasmine and camphor;
Prim arms folded over immaculate breasts…

The pirouetting tune dies…
Stars and little faded faces,
Waltzing, waltzing,
Shoot slowing downward
on tinkling music,
Dusty little flowers,
Sinking into oblivion…

After the music,
The glacial period renewed,
Monsters on earth,
A mad conflagration of worlds on ardent nights…

These too vanishing…
Silence unending.

The Death of Columbine

White breast beaten in sea waves,
Hair tangled in foam,
Lonely sky,
Desolate horizon,
Pale and shining clouds:
All this desolate and shining sea is no place for you,
My dead Columbine.

And the waves will bite your breast;
And the wind that does not know death from life
Will leap upon you and leer into your eyes
And suck at your dead lips.

Oh, my little Columbine,
You will go farther and farther away from me,
Out where there are no ships
And the column clouds
Soar across the somber horizon.


The child—
Warm chubby thighs, fat brown arms,
An unsurprised face—
Cries for jam.
The mother buys him with jam…

An old woman
Tottering on lean leather-skinned legs
Sucks with glazing eyes
The crystal silken milk
That flows from the death would
In an young flower-soft, jewel-soft body.

Rainy Twilight

Dim gold faces float in the windows,
Subtle as perfume,
Soft as flowers.
Dim gold faces and gilded arms
Are clinging along the silver ladders of rain,
Climbing with ivory lamps held high;
Starry lamps
Over which the silver ladders
Thicken into nets of twilight.