What Forgotten Realm?
Let me introduce to you
my poetry: it's an island flying
from book to book
the page where it was born,
then stops at my house, both wings wounded,
for its meals of flesh and cold phrases.
I paid dearly for the poem's visit!
My best words lie down to sleep in the nettles,
my greenest syllables dream
of a silence as young as themselves.
Offer me the horizon which no longer dares
to swim across even one book.
I will give you this sonnet in return:
in that place live the birds
signed by the ocean;
and also these exalted consonants
from which can be seen
the brain tumors of stars.
Manufacturers of equators,
to what client, to what wanderer
who knows neither how to read nor love,
have you resold my poem,
that smiling predator who at each syllable
leapt for my throat?
My language is at half-mast
since my syllables
fled for safety, carrying with them,
as one carries wedding gifts,
all my spare sunrises.
My poem, as much as I dismiss you
like a valet who for twenty-five years
has been stealing my manuscript snows;
as much as I walk you on a leash
like a poodle
that fears to tread the dawn;
as much as I caress you,
with an equator around your neck
which devours my other images one by one,
at each breath I begin you again,
at each breath you become my epitaph.
A duel took place
between the words and their syllables.
followed by the execution of overly rich poems.
The language bled,
the last vowel surrendered.
Already the great reptiles were being conjugated.
Here is my last will and testament:
the panther which follows my alphabet
must devour it, if it turns back.
© 2001 translated by F.J. Bergmann