‘First of January’, by Günter Eich

Only a calendar would start the day by talking about a new year,
the walls know damn well this isn’t the start of anything new.
Outside, as ever, the clouds blow past, light as hair,
and the wind rattles the windows with the same hands.

March and April will come, and eventually
a day will fill you with its endless hours;
along with the sky and the blown clouds
it will fall into your hands and your house.

Sometimes you catch your face at night in a mirror
obscurely filled with aging—
a faded envelope with unbroken seal,
stuffed always with the same script.

Every day is new and a jubilee,
but pain is a long way off ,
and of the celestial trophies
the only one in your possession is the evening star.

– Günter Eich, Angina Days: Selected Poems (trans. Michael Hofmann; Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2010), 13.

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