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Georg Trakl: On the Eastern Front

A poem a day
International WWI Poetry Month

On the Eastern Front

Georg Trakl (Austria, 1914)

The winter storm’s mad organ playing
is like the Volk’s dark fury,
the black-red tidal wave of onslaught,
defoliated stars.

Her features smashed, her arms silver,
Night calls to the dying men,
Beneath shadows of November’s ash,
ghost causalities heave.

A spiky no-man’s-land encloses the town.
The moon hunts petrified women
from their blood-spattered doorsteps.
Grey wolves have forced the gates.