Everyday Spiritual Practices
Morning in the City

Author: Volker Sielaff
Translator: Mark Terrill

Everyday Spiritual Practices

The whole day I was busy with
waiting for a woman, I hadn’t waited
for anyone for a long time, so that
now the waiting seemed like a mercy

an indefinable act, postponing
its own redemption. That was life:
someone—just born—stretched out his hand,
what he wanted to grasp, we couldn’t exactly discern

but the gesture was clear—and more than that.
We’re talking about a kind of swinging door.
The woman walks in and everything could already be over,
if it wasn’t just now—the beginning.


Life needs to spread its wings, leave its
script in the hair of one without a name.
DNA written on black volcanic ash.

The island rises and sinks; ribcage, heart,
another uninhabitable island. Uncharted
only the grass, the almond trees, the orchid.

Here is the beginning, encapsulated in an
unwieldy seed, that sails sprightly over the sea
in the unseasonable feathers of a bird.

The wind as matchmaker, on which the spider
hangs by its silky threads, Nephila maculata
out of the wind she weaves her web among the boulders.


Some things are only there in my
in order to combine with “something”
and together
produce a memory, which never allows me
to forget these things,

as though you’d laid your hand on it,
and thus extending it by a decisive
possibility, this

circling, swirling air of the ventilator
above us, I wish it had
another chance.

Morning in the City

In the window lay
the silky-gold cat
like his own emblem,
and I stood before the bookshelf
and dreamed.

Whether the things are present
in an indisputable way?
All I knew was, he’d picked out
the sunniest corner there was
in the window,
all four stretched out in front of him
and now he slept there, lying
as though in his own shadow,

In the kitchen in the cupboard
a glass vibrated. It was
time. At the window
a car rolled by.

Just don’t let yourself be separated
from that which you are doing.
Do it
in an incalculable way,
and with infinite composure
in the heart.

I said: a silky-gold cat,
undeceivable, a little indifferent.

(for Musashi)

from selbstportrait mit zwerg by Volker Sielaff
© Christian Lux Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2012
Translations © Mark Terrill

Whispering Villages
Desireless Routes
Warning Against Weighing

Author: Silke Scheuermann
Translator: Mark Terrill

Whispering Villages

Although our cities are always trying
to make the sky more familiar to us
by creating vista points
balconies terraces
although they claim that from above
one can see the possibly tenderest
place in space
an extra large marble with a blue center
and they tempt us upwards with stairs and elevators
and show us the security measures
railings and nets
the beauty
of the neon signs
trucks so small that we
feel like giants
although the noise from there below
is almost bewitching
sometimes we hear the whispering of the villages
and sometimes we believe some of it
and jump
like Superman

Desireless Routes

The flowers grow so slowly
that no one knows their intent
one can only assume
it’s because they
wanted to prove to each other
the knowledge of all
possible colors
making clear that there’s
something like fashion minimal
changes in the calyx structure
differences which show them
their own preciousness
as though out of fear
they might confirm
the excesses of form

It’s also possible
that this season’s dead
are trying harder
to pull them down by the roots

I see you smiling
between two crocuses

For this smile I had to
walk for hours through the gardens


Warning Against Weighing

You weigh the insect as it is
locked in a box of amber
robbed of every initiative
even that of falling apart

You’re another one nobody warned that small
things become larger by accident that
with time material sticks to you –
people, smells – No one warned you
against the weighing

How weightless you
look while working
like light sorting itself out

And today I’m more
similar to you than usual
as though I didn’t exist at all

not in this heat-field
not in your red shimmer
Originals © Silke Scheuermann
Translation © Mark Terrill