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A Year of Poetry – Day 157

Round about the city rests. The illuminated streets grow

Quiet, and coaches rush along, adorned with torches.

Men go home to rest, filled with the day’s pleasures;

Busy minds weigh up profit and loss contentedly

At home. The busy marketplace comes to rest,

Vacant now of flowers and grapes and crafts.

But the music of strings sounds in distant gardens:

Perhaps lovers play there, or a lonely man thinks

About distant friends, and about his own youth.

Rushing fountains flow by fragrant flower beds,

Bells ring softly in the twilight air, and a watchman

Calls out the hour, mindful of the time.

Now a breeze rises and touches the crest of the grove —

Look how the moon, like the shadow of our earth,

Also rises stealthily! Phantastical night comes,

Full of stars, unconcerned probably about us —

Astonishing night shines, a stranger among humans,

Sadly over the mountain tops, in splendor.

— Friedrich Holderlin, Bread and Wine

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