1. Parents

          We are your grandparents,
Bathed in the cold sweats
Of the moon and green pasture.
Our dry wines had guts!
Beneath the ingenious sun
What must man do? Drink.

Me – Die in barbarous rivers.

We are your grandparents,
Below the osier lies the water:
See it flowering in the moat
Around the dank Castle.
Let’s go down to our store-rooms;
Afterwards, cider or milk.

Me – Or drink with the cows.

We are your grandparents,
Of liqueur in cupboards. Try it!
Teas and Coffees, hard to come by,
Simmer in our kettles.
– Look at the pictures, the flowers.
We’re back from the cemetery.

Me – Ah, drain the urns dry!

2. Spirit

          Eternal water-spirits
Divide the slender waters.
Venus, sister of azure,
Rouse the pure wave.
Wandering Jews of Norway,
Tell me about snow.
Old, beloved exiles,
Tell me about the sea.

Me – No, enough of pure drinks –
These decorative water-flowers;
No myth, no imagery
Can quench my thirst;
Song-maker, your godchild
Is my crazed desire to drink –
My inside-Hydra, mouthless,
Desolating, wasting.

3. Friends

          Come, the wines are running towards the shore,
And the waves in their millions!
See the Dutch gin, wild,
Pouring off the mountains!
Good pilgrims, we must reach
The green portals of Absinthe! . .

Me – Enough of these landscapes.
Friends, what is drunkenness?

I’d as soon – in fact I’d rather –
Rot among the pond-life
Under rank scum
Beside lumps of driftwood.

4. The Poor Dreamer

          Perhaps there’s an Evening in store
When I’ll drink quietly
In some old City
And die the happier –
Patient as I am!

If my affliction lets up,
If I ever come by gold,
Will I choose the North
Or vineyard country? . . .
– Ah dreaming is shameful,

A perfect form of loss!
And if I become once more
The traveller I was,
The Green Inn
Will have barred its door.

5. Conclusion

          The pigeons trembling in the field,
Game in flight, seeing the dark,
Water-creatures, beasts in thrall,
The last butterfly – thirst grips them all.

But to melt like the untended cloud,
– Chaperoned by coolness!
To expire among the moist violets
That daybreak strews in these woods?


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