Showing posts with label poem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poem. Show all posts


René Schickele – The boy in the garden

The boy in the garden

I want to put my bare hands together
and make them sink hard
as evening falls, as if they were lovers.
May bells ring at dusk,
and white veils of scent descend upon us,
as we are close together, listening to our flowers.
Tulips shine through the last glow of the day,
lilac blossoms spring from the bushes,
a bright rose melts on the ground...
We're all fond of each other.
Outside, through the blue night, we hear the muted striking of the hours.

– René Schickele (1883-1940)

English translation by Johannes Beilharz (© 2020).

German original | Other poems by René Schickele in English


Robert Creeley – Kiki


World in a
plastic octa-
gon from a
most perspica-
cious daughter.



Welt in einem
gon von einer
höchst scharf-
sinnigen Tochter.

– Robert Creeley

Aus: Robert Creeley, A Day Book, 1972. Deutsche Übersetzung von Johannes Beilharz.


Franz Kafka – Cool and Hard

Cool and hard is the day today.
The clouds congeal.
The winds are tugging ropes.
People congeal.
The steps sound metallic
On ore stones,
And the eyes see
Wide white lakes.

In the old little town there are
Small bright Christmas houses,
Their colorful windows look out
Over the snow-blown square.
On the moonlit square
A man walks silently in the snow,
His great shadow blown up
The houses by the wind.

People who walk across dark bridges,
Past saints
With dim candles.

Clouds that drift across a grey sky
Past churches
With towers in twilight.
A man leans against the ashlar parapet
And looks into the evening water,
Hands on old stones.

– Franz Kafka, translated from the German by Johannes Beilharz (© 2020)

(A poem by Franz Kafka (1883-1924) – who is, of course, not really known for poetry – which undoubtedly places him in the literary environment of expressionism. It is contained in a letter by Kafka dated November 9, 1903, in which the 20-year-old writes to his schoolmate Oskar Pollak about “some verses” that he might “read at a good hour”.)


Stefan George – I am the One

I am the One and am the Twain
I am the womb I am the sire
I am the blow and am the slain
I am the wood I am the fire
I am the seer I am the sight
I am the sheath and am the haft
I am the shadow and the right
I am the bow I am the shaft
I am the rich I am the needer
I am the semblance and the heart
I am the altar and the pleader
I am a finish and a start.

Stefan George

Translated from the German by Carol North Valhope and Ernst Morwitz. From: Stefan George, Poems, Schocken Books, 1967 (originally published by Pantheon Books in 1943)

See the original in the preceding post.


Morning Digestion

Trying my best Charles B. imitation

Read Bukowski for breakfast,
including that one with the radio
he threw out the window every
time he got drunk, always breaking
the window. Then he added
something about watching a
scantily clad neighbor digging
in her garden patch just below.
I wondered if she happened to
show up, scantily clad, every
time Charles B. got drunk and
threw the radio out the window.

– Johannes Beilharz (© 2005)

Originally published at Poem Hunter.


Ezra Pound - Alba


Kühl wie die bleichen nassen Blätter
                                              des Maiglöckchens
Lag sie in der Morgendämmerung an meiner Seite

Translated by Johannes Beilharz (© 2020)

Note on this translation
There is a previous translation by Eva Hesse that is quoted on the Internet. She translated the word leaves as Blüten (blossoms, flowers). It seems unlikely that Ezra Pound did not know the difference between leaves and flowers, i.e. he did not require correction in German. Granted, white (the color of the flowers of lily of the valley) is paler than green (the color of the leaves), but the shape of the leaves (longish and flared) is more like the body of a woman than the flowers, which are bell-shaped (hence the German name Maiglöckchen) and round. Unless Pound really found a whitish, bell-shaped round woman by his side on that poetic morning...

– Johannes Beilharz


Sammy’s less than perfect reputation

Avoid that lad named Sammy –
you've felt his hands – they're clammy.

Staying away from him makes triple sense
because he is also brutal and dense.

– Felix Morgenstern (© 2016)

Rhymed around clammy, brutal and dense from 3WW.