Two poems by Will Stone after Georg Trakl


    De Profundis


There is a pine forest on which an acid rain falls.
There is a tree of limbs that stands lonely here.
There is a nuclear wind that haunts abandoned new homes -
How criminal this century.

Past the darkening suburb
the dazed runaway still begs from a sleeping bag.
Red and pinched her eyes burn in the headlights
and her swollen womb awaits the backstreet quack.

Returning home
night watchmen found the surplus body
stiffened in a cardboard box.

A player, I am remote from sepulchral towers.
The anthrax of amen
I licked from the weeping wall.

On my brow mad lasers play.
Science seeks my heart.
There is a tongue in my mouth which is cut.

At night I found myself upon a runway
thick with screams and siren blasts.
Beneath the groaning bridge
brown rats have feasted once more.




At nightfall the suburbs incubate
with stealthy disease and welling rage,
the pale cul-de-sacs, above which more darkly
carves the moon, the night by-passes
bereaved women, the muffled scream
of their inoperable hearts.
But quietly there in the playground
famished childhood where no greed resides,
tears shed evaporate, ocean unconcerned.
Under stars unseen for the orange glow
the reaper rides the empty ring road,
to greet the ghosts passed on by tactful undertakers;
and softly the horn of future sounds
through the swaying jibs of dockyard cranes.
Oh unimpeded cycle! You boarded up altars,
today a terrible affliction upsets the inspired signal,
the womb blind yet unborn.


Will Stone

About Will Stone

Will Stone is a writer, poet and translator of French, Franco-Belgian and German literature, living in Suffolk. His most recent books are a translation of Wilhelm Waiblinger’s 'Friedrich Hölderlin's Life, Poetry & Madness' (Hesperus Press, 2018), 'The Art of the City' by Georg Simmel (Pushkin Press, 2018), and 'Surrender to Night: Collected Poems of Georg Trakl' (Pushkin Press, 2019). His debut poetry collection, 'Glaciation' (Salt, 2007), won the international Glenn Dimplex Award for Poetry. A second collection, 'Drawing in Ash' (Salt), followed in 2011. Shearsman Books subsequently produced new editions of both these collections, followed by a third, 'The Sleepwalkers', in 2016. His essays, reviews, poetry and translations have appeared in Agenda, Edinburgh Review, the Guardian, the Independent, The Irish Times, PN Review, Poetry Review, The Spectator, and the Times Literary Supplement, among others.