Salomé with the head of John the Baptist, Cranach the Elder
The gloom of what she longed for
Shines through in eyes no longer there –
Exchanges thus her quiet glance with
The clairvoyance of a dead man.
No more than mere vague musing
On Herodian dances,
Her forehead is an elegant Saxon
Jewel, representing itself,
Sparkling with quiet cruelty.
One who can dream so serenely
Of the sharply whetted knife,
And of a kiss that cannot ever
come, that tiny bosom sleeping
in the gold brocade,
Wound-red the graceful hat,
The feathers she is boasting of,
Pedantic chill of that small mouth, that pointy chin,
Her hands holding onto all that speaks
Of virgins, yet not even trembling –
Has kept one’s head together.
Death is a precious dish.
The necklace will outdo the headsman.
Behind her mountains blue,
The keep the colour of the rocks,
Fresh green complicity
For what is nature
Does not flinch
Till it wins what
It has never wished.