Kuno Kohn's Five Songs to Mary

A poem by Alfred Lichtenstein

First Song:

So many years I sought you, Mary -
In gardens, rooms, cities and mountains,
In dumps, whores, in acting schools,
In sick beds and in the rooms of mad people,
In kitchen maids, screaming, celebrations of spring,
In every kind of weather and every kind of day,
In coffee houses, mothers, dancers -
I did not find you in bars, motion pictures,
Music-cafes, excursions into the summer mist...
Who knows the agony, when I, in the night on the streets,
Cried out for you to the dead sky -

Next Song:

He who looks for you in this way, Mary, becomes quite gray.
He who looks for you in this way, Mary, loses his face and legs.
The heart crumbles. Blood and dream escape.
If I could rest... if I were in your hands...
Oh, if you would take me up in your eyes...

Song of Praise

Mary you - to think of how
I felt about you... my heavy head sinks -
Sea only and moon - sea-moon and wind and world -
White sand encircling your white skin, Mary -
Your hair... your smile - all around is sea and distress
And shouts and longing and a gentle happiness -
All this singing, that makes for such weariness...
Doesn't heaven come to us slowly like a mother's song
To the forehead of her child again and again -

Sad Song

Now I go once again among days, animals,
Rocks and thousands of eyes and sounds -
The most foreign one. I had to lose you...
Your sinful body, Mary, was so lovely -
Now I once again in vain look among days, animals,
Rocks and sounds for a trace of you.
Now I also know: I had to lose you...
I did not find you - it was only your name -

Last Song

Only come, my rain... fall against my face
Yellow street lamps... overturn the houses -
I don't want unbroken, smooth roads.
Now it is lovely... only in the light of street lamps...
Mary... surrounded with dark rain -
This is the way it should be. I would like to be with you.
What are mountains and the flat land to me -
What are cities to me and colorful hypnotic nights -
Back to the ocean... back to the starry shore.
You are not entirely Mary, whom I sought.
But you are also Mary - boundless...
Beloved... a fool... cursed with longing...

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