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for Bessie Loos
Truly he loved the sun, as it descended in purple from the hill
The paths in the woods, the singing blackbird
And the joy of the green.
He lived solemnly in the shadow of the tree
And his countenance was pure.
God spoke a tender flame unto his heart:
Quietly he walked his way to the city in the evening;
The dark complaint fell from his mouth:
I want to be a rider.
But he was followed by bush and animal,
A house and a twilight garden with pale people
His murderer sought after him.
Spring and summer and a beautiful autumn
Of the righteous one, so soft his step
Drawing to the darkened rooms of the sleeping.
At night he remained alone with his star;
He saw the snow fall on bare branches
And in the fading light of the entrance way the shadow of the murderer.
In silver sank the unborne’s head.
–Georg Trakl, Kaspar Hausers Lied from Sebastian im Traum (1915) in: Georg Trakl Dichtungen und Briefe: historisch-kritische Ausgabe, vol. 1, p. 95 (S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”