Und als ich aufsah, war sie nimmer da.
(Bertold Brecht — Erinnerung an Marie A.)
I looked up and saw a great white bird of prey
bulky, yet handsome, travelling low and langorous
in a marbled sky studded with shapes my mind could not
assemble. There was no denying it, it was a bird
with a wing prolonged and fibrous, a sharp head and
a pale, curved beak perched on a body high and
bulging. But as I looked, still occupied with the
perception of its gestalt, there, under my very eyes, it began
to crumble, to disintegrate here, develop there,
shift and twist and calibrate; began to divide its wing
in four, erect a quadruplet of legs, askew and disparate,
began to fuse the beak and head to one great muzzle.
Then, for a moment, the monstrosity paused. But before long,
one side of its body thinned into a neck, knitted and strong,
and its back morphed into that of a horse. But there it
did not stop. Leaking wisps of white into the sky — parts
of its head, neck, and mane — it began to abandon its
legs. I felt a sense of quiet panic and strained in the
adjustment of my vision. But before I knew it, I could
no longer bear the terror. I cast my glance to trees nearby.