Ballad Of Depicting The Light

Put some things in the light and watch
what the light will do to such things.
If you think you’ll be busy all morning and noon,
just see what the evening brings.

If to watch the light shifting will not suffice
but you want to catch it as well,
you’ll be joining the torchlight procession of those
who know light is heaven and hell.

The torch has passed through many a hand,
from van Eyck to de Hooch and Vermeer.
It shed light on Kersting and Eckersberg
and also forced Hopper’s sad tear.

The torch bearer’s moments are precious but brief,
as his own life will soon flicker low.
But even when darkness descends upon him
the torch will continue to glow.

It will glow for as long as someone will take things
and watch as they go dark and bright.
It will glow for as long as someone will catch
what happens to things in the light.

Ballade von der Lichtmalerei: Gesammelte Gedichte 1954–2006,      S. 512