Switzerland 1996
Translated by Genia Gurarie ©


At dawn the north wind blew and pierced
The land, but not for very long.
Its sway was brief and fierce,
And then it passed,
And now it's gone.
The spring inside the garden froze;
From drops and jets, a crystal grew.
At dawn, while standing close,
I saw it melt,
And glint like new.
The stock was dry a while, but fresh
It seems again, and bright, and young.
So death will heave and flash,
And then it's gone,
It's June again.
On slopes they tend the sheep — and I
Would like to climb up there, and glance
To find Helvetia
More visible
Than other lands.
Tell me, dear shepherd, why your ax
Is waved.  There is no need to frown
At all — just thought I'd ask
Towards what town
Your herds are bound.