With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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And children still grow up with those deep eyes
That know nothing, still grow up and die,
And everyone goes on about his business.
And bitter fruit grows big and sweet
And falls at night like dead birds on the ground
And lies there a few days, and rots away.
And still the wind blows on, over and over
We fail to sense it, speaking some old words
And feeling how our limbs tingle and grow tired.
And highways still stretch out across the grass,
And habitations spread with street-lights, trees
and pools, threatening, dried-out, deathly . . .
For what is all this built, that won’t add up
And yet increases still, beyond counting?
How can we laugh, then suddenly cry and pale?
What benefit these grandiose games of ours,
Which are ourselves, when we are still alone
And wander on without a search or goal?
What benefit even to speak of all of this?
Yet “Evening,” when we say it, still speaks much,
Running with sadness and with wretchedness
Like dense honey oozing from the empty comb.
Lightning Allan Brown
Hugo von Hofmannsthal