Spring 1942 • Vol. IV No. 2 Poetry |

Northern Minstrel (Kafka)

Having no end to sing, he sent his heroes Nevertheless and swiftly: similar arrows Into one dark where snow was the conclusion; Where going on was target; piercing which, More snow; or if a castle, the piled chambers Tilted as they climbed them, and no top. There was one room, he said, where sat the king, The ladies; but his words were crooked stairs, Were passages through dust, away from music; Save that a cold laughter in some corners Lied, and secret kisses, feigning fire, Delayed them among nymphs, and ogres roared. Having no sight, he sped them from his bow, Nevertheless, and feathered the good dark His forebears, singing farther, had shot through. Then the warm goal. But not for him that heaven. He did not claim conclusion, or recover Any of all those hearts the long cold killed.

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