Monday, December 7, 2009

Gottfried Benn's "Little Aster"


A drowned beertruck driver was lifted on the bench.
Somebody had stuck a dark-and-light purple aster
between his teeth to clench.
As I cut out, from within the chest,
under the skin,
with a long knife,
tongue and palate,
I must have touched it, for it slipped
into the brain lying beside.

I packed it into the thoracic cavity,
between the excelsior filling,
when they sewed up.
Quench your thirst in your vase!
Rest in peace,
little Aster!

(trans. A W Tuting)

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