by Georg Trakl (1887 - 1914)
Translation © by Bertram Kottmann

Verfall
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG FRE ITA
Am Abend, wenn die Glocken Frieden läuten,
Folg' ich der Vögel wundervollen Flügen,
Die lang geschart, gleich frommen Pilgerzügen,
Entschwinden in den herbstlich klaren Weiten.

Hinwandelnd durch den dämmervollen Garten
Träum' ich nach ihren helleren Geschicken
Und fühl' der Stunden Weiser kaum mehr rücken.
So folg' ich über Wolken ihrer Fahrten.

Da macht ein Hauch mich von Verfall erzittern.
Die Amsel klagt in den entlaubten Zweigen.
Es schwankt der rote Wein an rostigen Gittern.

Indes wie blasser Kinder Todesreigen
Um dunkle Brunnenränder, die verwittern,
Im Wind sich fröstelnd blaue Astern neigen.

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Decay", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Bertram Kottmann) , "Decay", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Décomposition", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Decadenza", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 91

Decay
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
At nightfall, when the bells of peace are ringing,
I follow the birds’ wonderful migration,
that in long rows, like groups of pious pilgrims,
pass out of sight into fall’s clear expanses.

Walking at leisure through the dusky garden
I dream after their destinies, much brighter,
and hardly feel the hour hand’s advancing.
Above the clouds I follow thus their journeys.

A soft whiff of decay makes me then tremble.
The blackbird wails in the bare-facèd branches.
The crimson vine leaves sway on rusty treillage.

Meanwhile like death-dances of pallid children
around dark brims of fountains decomposing,
in autumn’s wind blue asters bend and shiver.

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT) t-online.de

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:

Based on

 

This text was added to the website: 2018-11-28
Line count: 14
Word count: 105