Nameless ('Navnløs') by Sigbjørn Obstfelder

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Fog in darkness descends on trees, on lawns,
leaves of no color, grass of no green.
The flares of lamp posts are the darkness' yellow pupils —
yellow pupils expanding unearthly.
Nobody laughs nor sighs in these walkways.
I cough. My cough sound like a ghost's wheeze.
I walk. My footsteps are as ghost steps.

But in the park's darkest way where no lamp posts burn,
in hiding between trees, on a lonely bench, a harlot is sitting.
A veil is hiding those pale cheeks, a black veil —
eyes behind that black veil flashes unearthly.

And I am gripped by a wistful, nightly joy,
by meeting in darkness, in the dead of the night, a human.
Quietly I sit down and pull the veil silently aside,
advancing my eyes to hers, my soul to hers.

Silently leaves are falling.
Carefully I lay my ear over her heart…
And burst into tears, weeping into her cold gloves,
weeping and weeping, not knowing why.

She does not reject me.
She deftly wipes away my tears.
And I grab her hands in anguished melancholia
and beg her hide me, hide me, hide me.

Fog in darkness descends on trees, on souls,
leaves of no color, grass of no green.
But black leaves are silently falling,
and in darkness on a lonely bench a nameless is sitting,
and is hiding by that hot chest the face of one diseased,
and is hiding in those soft hands the eyes of one frightened,
and nobody but God can hear his mournful sobs,
and nobody but God can hear her soothing whispers.


May 2024. Contact info: