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This poem is taken from PN Review 223, Volume 41 Number 5, May - June 2015.

Two Poems, translated by Jamie Osborn
Translated from the German by Jamie Osborn
Jan Wagner
after the thousand and first night
‘Straightaway, the joy spread in the castle of the king, and it streamed also through the whole town. That night was not part of earthly life.’

the warm air carries scent of reseda
into the bedroom where scheherazade
stirs. the first morning of all the days
to come. by the bed a soft toy
tiger, a jack-in-the-box, a doll with sewn
lips; and outside, the sun reluctantly begins to show.
donkeys are donkeys, goats stay goats,
date-palms grow from date-stones.

celebrations, announced with salvoes – and the dawn.
only a few pale news-sellers squat
with their bird-cages, where the clank and groan
of cisterns is heard from the court: one, or more
slaves, who knows, fetching fresh buckets
of water, for flowers or the whetstone.

the tailor of ulm

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