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SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

[Two Poems]

Georg Trakl

Translated from German by Okla Elliott


Beneath mis-hewn willows, where tanned children play
And leaves blow, trumpets sound. A graveyard’s chill.
Banners of scarlet pierce the maple’s sorrow.
Horsemen alongside fields of rye; deserted mills.

Or shepherds sing at night and stags step
Into the grove’s age-old sorrow, the circle of fire-pits.
Dancers rise from a black wall;
Banners of scarlet, laughter, madness, trumpets.


Transfigured Autumn

The year ends magnificent,
With golden wine and garden’s fruit.
All round the forests are wondrously silent,
companions to man on his lonesome route.

Then the farmer says: It is good.
You evening bells, long and soft,
Give the end a cheery mood.
And a flight of birds offers the proper send-off.

It is the calm time of love
In a boat down the blue river
How beautifully one image follows another—
In silence and peace, it all sinks under.


SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

Georg Trakl (1887–1914)

was a pharmacist in the Austrian Medical Corps and a poet who is now considered among the principal writers of the Austrian Expressionist movement.

“Despite a short life and a small amount of work, Georg Trakl is one of the most important representatives of German poetry of the 20th Century. His main life stages were Salzburg, Vienna, Innsbruck, and finally the war front in Galicia.”
—Salzburger Kulturvereinigung: “Brief Bio” + photos

Poetry Foundation offers a bibliography as well as additional details, e.g.,

“Trakl’s strongest literary affiliation, however, is with the French symbolists of the nineteenth century, primarily Arthur Rimbaud, whose disordered and conflict-ridden genius is said to be incarnated in the Austrian poet.”


SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

Okla Elliott

is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois where he works in the fields of comparative literature and trauma studies. He also holds an MFA from Ohio State University.

His nonfiction, poetry, short fiction, and translations have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, The Los Angeles Review, New Letters, A Public Space, and Subtropics, among others.

Elliott is the author of the fiction collection, From the Crooked Timber (Press 53, 2011). His poetry collection, The Cartographer’s Ink, is forthcoming in late 2014 from NYQ Books; and his novel, The Doors You Mark Are Your Own (co-authored with Raul Clement), is forthcoming in 2015 from Dark House Press.


SHJ invites you to visit the sites below for more of Okla Elliott’s work in the world:
...Voice is the driver of this story’s strength, but voice alone is not enough—unless, as here, the voice’s aloneness is the sharpened point: here is a character who was once the star, but is now wheeling through the wings crashing into things....
“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury