Featured Poem

lamentation with a yak


he’ll drag a mountain up the pass –
pack crammed with silk and sacks of rice;
along the ridge he’ll never slack,
slip or stumble – forward always,
never back; past the plane wreck, past
a yeti’s spoor in his ladakh
of snow-white mountain stacks: the yak.

his shaggy hair, the shaman’s head...
and on his tongue a smack of milk
so fat he’ll never lack for grass;
hard to watch a draft  beast racked so –
up tracks, through icy cataracts.
pupils as black as lacquer, and
deep within, that feeble glow: ach.

by night the bivouacs, the fires
crackling, fuelled by his sun-baked dung,
smoke carrying across the valley;
by night the arctic chill, the sparkle
of stars, the cracking glaciers, while
his massive skull keeps watch from
the gable of this shack, but ach,
but ach, yak, ach, yak, ach.


» Comment on this translation 0 comment(s)

About the translation:
» Read translator's notes
Poet:
Jan Wagner
Translator:
Iain Galbraith
Original language:
German
Issue:
2016 Number 2 - One Thousand Suns

About the author

Original poet

Jan Wagner

JAN WAGNER is a poet, essayist and translator of British and American poetry. He has published six volumes of poetry and his S...

» Read more
Iain Galbraith

Translator

Iain Galbraith

Iain Galbraith, born in Glasgow in 1956, grew up in the west of Scotland and studied Modern Languages and Comparative Literatu...

» Read more

Comment

No Comments

ADD YOUR COMMENT


Browse poems

By original language »

By issue of MPT »

Go Digital

Subscribe to the digital edition of MPT for access to all back issues and to the Exactly app.» View free trial issue

Back to top
Supported by Arts Council England

Copyright © Modern Poetry in Translation and contributors
Website design ashbydesign
Developed by Code Frontiers
Powered by Storemill