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.

Stefan George – Ich bin der Eine

Ich bin der Eine und bin Beide
Ich bin der zeuger bin der schooss
Ich bin der degen und die scheide
Ich bin der das opfer bin der stoss
Ich bin die sicht und bin der seher
Ich bin der bogen bin der bolz
Ich bin der altar und der fleher
Ich bin das feuer und das holz
Ich bin der reiche bin der bare
Ich bin das zeichen bin der sinn
Ich bin der schatten bin der wahre
Ich bin ein end und ein Beginn

Stefan George

Aus: Der Stern des Bundes (1914)


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.


Arrhythmie – ein Mikrogedicht von Ajo


Ich hasse die Liebe 
und hasse sie außerdem 
mit deinem Herzen.

✼ ❖ ✼ ❖ ✼ ❖ ✼ ❖ ✼ ❖ ✼ ❖ ✼ ❖ ✼ ❖ 


Odio el amor 
y además lo odio 
con tu corazón.

– Ajo (© 2004)

Übertragung ins Deutsche von Johannes Beilharz (© 2020)