The Daynightlamp


Korf has a daynightlamp,
His own invention, which
At one flick of the switch,
Turns day, however bright,
To blackest night.

When, at the convention
He displays it on the ramp,
No man of comprehension
Who understands his field
Can fail to see, revealed–

(Brilliant day turns to night;
Applause storms through the house)
(Someone starts to shout
For the janitor, Mr. Camp:
"Lights! Lights!")–to see, outright,

The facts: aforesaid lamp
Indeed has powers which
At one flick of the switch
Turns any day, how bright,
To blackest night.


 German; trans. William Snodgrass


Christian Morgenstern, German, trans. William Snodgrass, Mademoiselle, Street & Smith Publications, 1961.