The Impossible Fact by Christian Otto Josef Wolfgang Morgenstern

Palmstroem, old, an aimless rover,
walking in the wrong direction
at a busy intersection
is run over.

“How,” he says, his life restoring
and with pluck his death ignoring,
“can an accident like this
ever happen? What’s amiss?

“Did the state administration
fail in motor transportation?
Did police ignore the need
for reducing driving speed?

“Isn’t there a prohibition,
barring motorized transmission
of the living to the dead?
Was the driver right who sped . . . ?”

Tightly swathed in dampened tissues
he explores the legal issues,
and it soon is clear as air:
Cars were not permitted there!

And he comes to the conclusion:
His mishap was an illusion,
for, he reasons pointedly,
that which must not, can not be.

From: http://www.alb-neckar-schwarzwald.de/morgenstern/morgenstern_poems.html

Date: 1910 (in German); 1963 (in translation)

By: Christian Otto Josef Wolfgang Morgenstern (1871-1914)

Translated by: Max E Knight (1909-1993)

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