Guillaume Appolinaire

There Is
There is this ship which has taken my beloved back again

There is this ship which has taken my beloved back again
There are six Zeppelin sausages in the sky and with night
               coming on it makes a man think of the maggots from which the 
               stars might some day be reborn
There is this enemy submarine slipping up beneath my love
There are one thousand young pinetrees splintered by the
               bursting of the same shells falling around me now
There is this infantryman walking by completely blinded by
               poison gas
There is the obvious fact that all that is happening here was
               hatched a long time ago in the intestinal trenches of Nietzche 
               Goethe and the metaphysicians of the town of Cologne
There is the obvious fact that I'm dying over a letter which
               has thus far been delayed
There are in my wallet various photos of my beloved
There are prisoners marching past with anxious faces
There is this artillery battery with its faithful servants
               hurrying among the guns
There is the postmaster arriving at a trot on the road beneath
               the single tree in silhouette
There is according to rumor a spy who infiltrates somewhere
               near here invisible as the horizon as the horizon-blue French 
               uniform he has assumed for offensive purposes and in which he 
               is now most effectively camouflaged
There is erect as any lily the bosom of my beloved
There is this captain anxiously awaiting the latest radio
               dispatch to reach us via transatlantic cable
There are at midnight these details of soldiers sawing planks
               for coffins
There are women somewhere in Mexico pleading with wild cries
               for more indian corn and maize
There is this Gulf Stream which is so warm and beneficial
There is this cemetery covered with crosses only five 
               kilometers away
There are all these crosses everywhere this way that way
There are paradisial persimmons growing on cactus-trees in
There are the long hands of my love
There is this inkwell which I've made from a 150 mm shell I
               saved from shooting
There is my calvary saddle left out in the rain
There are all these rivers blasted off their courses which will
               never go back to their banks
There is the god of Love who leads me on so sweetly
There is this German prisoner carrying his machine-gun across
               his shoulders
There are men on earth who've never fought in the war
There are Hindus here who look with astonishment on the
               occidental style of campaign
They meditate gravely upon those who've left this place
               wondering whether they'll ever see them again
Knowing as they do what great progress we've made during this
               particular war in the art of invisibility


translated by Michael Benedikt