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Yellow Stars

Every year, they blossom again, punctually.
A creeping weed that is called moneywort,
and the tiny one, I think, wall-pepper.
So much that is yellow and will soon be gone.
Of those which keep their distance from us,
far out in cold space, it is said that they flare up
and burn out like birthday sparklers.
Some stars, when the wind dies down,
hang from flagpoles, limply. Another one
arose, long ago, in the Gospels.

When I was a child, there were stars,
thin and crumpled on grey, worn overcoats.
Someone must have sewed them on.
It wasn’t my great-aunt Theresia who did it.
Other aunts, longsighted, thread in mouth,
bent over the eye of the needle.
So many stars. Don’t speak of them.
But they were yellow, yellow.
And then they vanished forever.

Written and translated by
Hans Magnus Enzensberger

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July 2017

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