Autumn Villanelle / Herbstvillanelle

Translated from German by Iain Galbraith

the days are running out of light
and an hour lasts ten minutes.
the trees have played their final colours.

in heaven they’re changing the stage sets
too fast for our little dramas:
the days are running out of light.

your gray coat separates you from the air,
a passe-partout for a sentence like this:
the trees have played their final colours.

ice-blue windows — on TV weather charts
the thumb-prints of the lows.
the days are running out of light —

the empty park, the pond: lines
of ducks being pulled on invisible threads.
the trees have played their final colours.

and a man with three sunflowers, three black
spots on yellow, feels his way through the dark:
the days are running out of light.
the trees have played their final colours.

~ Jan Wagner

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