Meenie moanie meep
Sappho turns (her) back
After the Big Race
Curtains for Me
Vulture Circles Eternal
Making Scenes

Author: Kerstin Hensel
Translator: Robert Gillett


Meenie moanie meep

Random relicts sleep
Under duvets of stone
Marble covers bone
Paper wraps rock
A mouldering stock
Of long-buried letters
Worsers beat betters
In de-composition
As hornie golochs
Scuttle molochs


Sappho turns (her) back

Oh fall! Oh sweet and love-
Less prospect my Leukadian
Heart stop right there
Phaon – you hand-
Some limb-loosener
Take a running jump! It’s time
My lyre learned to
Sing from a different
Her-sheet. Nearer – My God! – to the
Abyss proud disdainer you
Will not bring me. Let almighty
Eros give you
Or even him self satisfaction and me
A lady friend
Work and wine!


After the Big Race

When after the big race the horses are
Alone in their stable they sometimes fall
At the fences of depression
For that says the vet there is no
Known cure. But if you give them
A little kid to share their stable with,
A bleating, leaping puck of a young goat, then
You will see them
Grin again
From ear to ear

Curtains for me

My wound-licker has given notice
Next to me dreams toss and turn
On moth-eaten furs

The red wine cuckoo has
Made it big Even now
I cannot leave the house
Nor look around me. As in great times
Of shortage the stall-holder has
Onions for sale Onions red white braided fine
Enough to make you weep

It is the dwarves and toads who pay
Their respects at my door
Selling poison and prayer-books The bells
Of the television tower call to a devotional march
Even the bin men are

I stand behind the curtains at the window
Looking in

Waiting for you


Vulture Circles Eternal

Why does the tiny carrion
Hope revolt me?
High up I see movement
And think: it’s
Not dead yet


Making Scenes

It is the lark not so
Much a lark more a rave
In auricle on tympanum and mornings lawks
No nights o Romea ah Julio
Always this alpha (male) and o me
Giddy aren’t we the ones
No sound no fury signifying
What a farce carry on


From Kerstin Hensel, Schleuderfigur, Luchterhand Literaturverlag (Verlagsgruppe Random House GmbH), München, 2016.