If It Were Not for You

By Hayden Carruth

Liebe, meine liebe, I had not hoped
to be so poor

                              The night winds reach
like the blind breath of the world
in a rhythm without mind, gusting and beating
as if to destroy us, battering our poverty
and all the land’s flat and cold and dark
under iron snow
                                    the dog leaps in the wind
barking, maddened with winter, and his voice
claps again and again down the valley
like tatters of revolutionary pennants
cry and hemlocks by the brook
stand hunched and downcast with their hands
in their pockets

Liebe, the world is wild
and without intention

                                                 how far
this might be from the night of Christmas
if it were not for you.

Down the reaching wind
shrieks of starlight bear broken messages
among mountains where shadows plunge
                                                                          yet our brightness
is unwavering
                               Kennst du das land
wo die zitronen blühn, im dunkeln laub
die goldorangen … liebe

art thou singing

It is a question partly
of the tree with our stars and partly
of your radiance brought from the land
where legends flower to this land
but more than these our bright poverty
is a house in the wind and a light
on the mountain

Liebe, our light rekindled
in this remoteness from the other land,
in this dark of the blue mountain where only
the winds gather
          is what we are for the time that we are
          what we know for the time that we know

How gravely and sweetly the poor touch in the dark.