Monday, September 23, 2019

At Once the Wheel Was Still

The Saw
by Justinus Kerner
tr. by William Cullen Bryant


In yonder mill I rested,
And sat me down to look
Upon the wheel's quick glimmer.
And on the flowing brook.

As in a dream, before me,
The saw, with restless play,
Was cleaving through a fir-tree
Its long and steady way.

The tree through all its fibres
With living motion stirred,
And, in a dirge-like murmur,
These solemn words I heard—

Oh, thou, who wanderest hither,
A timely guest thou art!
For thee this cruel engine
Is passing through my heart.

When soon, in earth's still bosom,
Thy hours of rest begin,
This wood shall form the chamber
Whose walls shall close thee in.

Four planks—I saw and shuddered—
Dropped in that busy mill;
Then, as I tried to answer,
At once the wheel was still.

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