The Nocturnal Dance

V. C. McCabe


through night and wind?

 It is the father with his child;

He probably has the boy in his arms,

He takes hold of him, he keeps him warm.

“Son, what are you bothering your face?”

father, do not you see

The Erlenkönig with crown and tail? ”

“My son, it’s a nebula.”

“Dear child, come, go with me!

I play beautiful games with you;

Many colorful flowers are on the beach,

My mother has many a gilded robe. “

 “My father, my father, and do not you hear

What does Erlenkönig promise me quietly? ”

“Be quiet, stay calm, my child;

The wind whispers in dry leaves. ”

“Will you, dear boy, you go with me?

My daughters should wait for you nicely;

My daughters lead the nocturnal Reihn,

And weigh and dance and sing. ”

“My father, my father, and you do not see there

Erlkönig’s daughters in the gloomy place? “

 “My son, my son, I see it exactly:

The old pastures seem so gray. ”

“I love you, I am charmed by your beautiful form;

And if you are not willing, I need violence

“My father, my father, now he is touching me!

Erlkönig has done me a sorrow

The father is horrified, he rides fast,

He holds in arms the groaning child

Reach the farm with hardship and hardship;

in his arms the child was dead

[Source: “Der Erlkönig” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]



V.C. McCabe is the author of Give the Bard a Tetanus Shot (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019). Her work has appeared in exhibits and journals worldwide, including Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, The Minnesota Review, Five:2:One, Queen Mob’s Tea House, and Barren Magazine. Her website is