Category Archives: Poetry

100 Years Later – is the world any wiser?

Annihilation

a poem by August Stramm

Heavens wafting heaving
Blood a-marching
Marching
On
A thousand feet.

Heavens wafting heaving
Blood discharged
Discharged
Upon
A thousand blades.

Heavens wafting heaving
Blood is seeping
Seeping
In
A thousand threads.

Heavens wafting heaving
Blood is inconsequential
Inconsequential
On
A thousand jags.

Heavens wafting heaving
Blood does sleep away
Sleep away
Towards
A thousand deaths.

Heavens wafting heaving
Death is woven
Woven
To
A thousand feet.

translated from the original German poem “Vernichtung”
written by August Stramm
shortly before his death in World War I

Hutten’s Confession


A poem by Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825-1898)
translated

I’m walking on my grave today
Say Hutten, you’re confessing, pray?
I beat my chest in Christian penitence
For feeling guilty is man’s fate
I do repent that I too late perceived my task
My only mildly burning heart up to the last
I do repent not entering my feud
With harsher strikes and braver mood
I do repent that only once they banned  me
I do repent that human fear could stall me
I do repent the day that bore no risk to fail
I do repent the hour not in coat of mail
I do confess with sorrow most contrite
Not having been thrice daring in life’s fight.

Ulrich von Hutten: see here
Conrad Ferdinand Meyer: see here

Edge

Here is the edge of a friendship
thought to be,
sudden change,
just a tiny temperature drop at first,
distance crevassing where
closeness was
thought to be,
frost and debris
in the way,
time to be
away

 

 

Change

Change is a scent,
A tiny note in a room,
On a person, throughout the town,
Scent is unchanged in the hills.

Change is a sound,
A miniscule pitch in a voice,
Resonance of the road.
Sound is unaltered in the trees.

Change is emotion, perceiving,
And being perceived and starting
All over again, so raw
Change is not… oh to merge with the sea.

I.S. Dec. 2012

To Lulworth Cove

P1050583The place was paradise,
the cove, the beach,
the clear blue sea
A dreamy path atop the cliffs
through shrubs, past pastures and
a view to die for
All set just by a village
from a picture book,
a stream, some pubs, more walks,
the people’s gentle voices
-Would we stay?

In glistering sunlight up the path,
a photograph or two,
already trying to block out
the sounds that shouldn’t be…
Gunfire, was it tanks, machine guns?
not a minute’s rest
blocked, barred the lovely route,
a part of paradise made hell

They shouldn’t, can’t,
how was it possible?
What waste of beauty,
what a fall from highest spirits

No they can’t,
not here nor anywhere
no war … and please
stop practicing for it

We left

Rilke, Love Song – Liebeslied

Rainer Maria Rilke
(1875-1926)

Love Song

How shall I hold back my soul, so
that it doesn’t touch yours? How shall I
lift it over you to other things?
Oh, I would rather hide it
near something lost in darkness,
at some place strange and quiet that
cannot resonate with your
deep tune.
But everything that touches either, you or me,
combines us like a bow stroke
that from two strings one voice does draw.
What is the instrument that we are strung upon?
And who is the musician in whose hands we are?
Sweet is the song.

Liebeslied

Wie soll ich meine Seele halten, daß
sie nicht an deine rührt? Wie soll ich sie
hinheben über dich zu andern Dingen?
Ach gerne möcht ich sie bei irgendwas
Verlorenem im Dunkel unterbringen
an einer fremden stillen Stelle, die
nicht weiterschwingt, wenn deine Tiefen schwingen.
Doch alles, was uns anrührt, dich und mich,
nimmt uns zusammen wie ein Bogenstrich,
der aus zwei Saiten eine Stimme zieht.
Auf welches Instrument sind wir gespannt?
Und welcher Geiger hat uns in der Hand?
O süßes Lied.

One day

One day, my hero in the setting sunlight
One day, I’ll jump on my horse
Then,
lonesome cowboy,
then I’ll dump paper and pen by the shore

But
Prince on my island,
if then I light enormous bonfires
and go chasing the wind in the plains
drowning out thunderstorms
then, sweet friend
I’ll be faster than you
And when by the mountain’s foot
I stop to catch my breath
find my own source‘s
refreshing delight

Beware
I’ll then embrace
horizons you shall never see.