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

Of forests.


For what is nature

Does not flinch

Till it wins what

It has never wished.


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