I have been interested in Trakl’s work for several years now, stimulated by several essays in the American literary press, the provenance of which I, alas, have forgotten.
What does stay in particular is the poem De Profundis, which is both remarkable and devastating.
Michael Hamburger’s translation is this:
There is a stubble field on which a black rain falls.
There is a tree which, brown, stands lonely here.
There is a hissing wind which haunts deserted huts- –
How sad this evening.
Past the village pond
The gentle orphan still gathers scanty ears of corn.
Golden and round her eyes are gazing in the dusk
And her lap awaits the heavenly bridegroom.
Shepherds found the sweet body
Decayed in the bramble bush.
A shade I am remote from sombre hamlets.
The silence of God
I drank from the woodland well.
On my forehead cold metal forms.
Spiders look for my heart.
There is a light that fails in my mouth.
At night I found myself upon a heath,
Thick with garbage and the dust of stars.
In the hazel copse
Crystal angels have sounded once more.
Hans Werner Herze employed Sebastien im Traum as the leaving point for a composition.
The Public Domain has recently published a commentary on Trackl’s final months. It is worth the reading and understanding.