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Who knows of a better world should step forward.
Alone, no longer out of bravery, not wiping away this saliva,
this saliva worn upon the cheek
as if to a coronation, as if redeemed, whether at communion
or among comrades. The weak rabbit,
the rat, and those fallen there, all of them,
no longer alone, but as one, though still afraid,
the dream of returning home
in the dream of armament, in the dream
of returning home.
– Translated from the German by Peter Filkins
Ingeborg Bachmann was born in Klagenfurt, Austria, in 1926 and died in Rome in 1973. She was the author of two books of poetry as well as short stories, novels, essays, opera libretti, and radio plays. She is considered one of the most eminent German-language poets of her generation.
Peter Filkins is the translator of Ingeborg Bachmann’s complete poems, Darkness Spoken, as well as her two novel fragments, The Book of Franza and Requiem for Fanny Goldmann. The author of a biography, H.G. Adler: A Life in Many Worlds, he has also published five collections of poetry, most recently Water / Music. He teaches at Bard College.
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