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  • Baharak Beizaei

Hölderlin: Der Ister (excerpts)

Now girding eager

come fire upon

us become day!

For when the proof

guts the groin

one may sense a clamour in the woods.

But we sing of those who

have come from afar, the Indus

and of Alpheus, having

long sought what is destined,

not without wings may one

reach the next,

straightaway,

and come out the other side.

Here we want but to live

for streams make arable

the soil, and when the leaves turn

in the summer converging paths

with the beasts humans too

go to the source.


They call it the Ister.

It stays pure. It burns defoliate at the seams

and regathers force, bewildered set

apart and together they stand; above

a second one, Meuse, springs ahead

on the scaley coverings. Now no

wonder is to me that it

summons Heracles as guest.

Sheen of a distant Olympus under

where he came to finding the shades,

themselves keening I S T H M O S,

for full of courage there

they were! but wanting, too, that he

move the shadows. Around it each would

be pulled curling the well and watering the coast

yellow to burn upwards in

the black of the spruce forest, in the depths

a hunter meanders pleased

at midday, and oaks echo

hearable the currents grow, is

the seeming counter-

flow a backwards fo(rward) mo(tion)?

“Ichthys,” which would have brought him

from Eastern shores.

Much could

be said thereof. But how does it

bend straight to the mountainous side

of the Rhein, to dry where

girthing gratuitous rhymes, it

cunctates stammering, how? “Sie sollen nemlich

Zur Sprache seyn” (Heidegger, Andenken)



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