In the Cold Arms of Water

  I picked roses on the Wannsee and don’t know who to give them to. Jakob van Hoddi We left the city on muddy paths along the riverbank. Bare trees dogged us unseen like shadows in the icy water, the grey cross hatching. We brushed past blackthorn, breaking off alder branches with our shoulders. We tramped through unmined terrain. With us the dead, the fog of breath. Dangers almost all banished. That was new. It was those days that fall between the years. The fear was nameless now. But the forest stood in quarantine, an unpassable zone. Through tree trunks we glimpsed its sparkle: the Wannsee, late of madness, lake of silver. This is where the poet fell through the ice, this is where he was beyond all earthly help. A mask was caught in the bramble thorns. And night was enclosed in the cold arms of water. translated by

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