Translated by Helen Wallimann
Mountain hike 登山
We continue to clamber up the steep path
leaving below us tall tree tops
dense brush; everything lies ahead
the spectacular and sublime, the future,
is yet beyond sight
Sometimes we're brought to a halt
by cliff walls that seem to bar the way
We pass through a long tunnel, seeing nothing
in the dark, until at the end of our line of vision a faint light appears
Suddenly a snow-capped mountain comes into view, startling us
making you think back and ask yourself what you've achieved
in all your long past. How much did you accumulate, how much
reject, how long did it take for your colourings
to lose their flourishes and allow the gradual emergence of what might be your own face?
That little blue flower there, what's its name?
Those yellow buttercups, that's what country folk call them
That delicate spot of colour there, as yet
unnamed, fades away with the melting of ice and snow at winter's end
The grasses at the foot of the mountain, not yet turned green,
have to wait until summer to produce their own colours.
Vestiges of snow on the distant mountains are secret signs
The mountain range is spread out before our eyes
Where rest your gaze? You may choose.
Will you choose the solemn face of the Monk
or the faint smile of the Virgin?
Stormy passion inevitably gives way to indifference
with the passage of time
just as after endless selection one face finally takes shape
Revised in summer 2004 in Zurich
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