Earth Sciences
White Poem
Chinese Proverb
My Contribution to World Cultural Heritage
Outside the ethnology museum
There is no silence

By Jürg Halter

Translation Sheridan Marshall

 

 

Earth Sciences

She sinks into her seat
like a stone in water;
goes under like a
question asked too quietly.
Everything is a descent
to the centre of the Earth and
back in millions
of years and …
in all religions there is
really only one God,
that of gravity.
Why else would the
faithful throw themselves to the floor
instead of jumping into the air?

 

White Poem

You are not reading these lines,
it’s written white-on-white
that this is not a poem.
I walk in the first snow
dressed in white through a country
that doesn’t actually exist.
No-one here speaks.
White in white I forget –
Oh, please, disappoint me soon,
so that I can finally show you
who I really am.

 

Chinese Proverb

‘When the winds of change blow…’
I linger in a street café,
an empty sugar sachet in front of me,
that I will blow any moment
at the feet of a sad passer-by,
‘…some build walls, others windmills.’

 

My Contribution to World Cultural Heritage

I would like this poem to have millions of readers
in all possible languages.
I would like this poem to live on
into the far-reaching future;
for the poem to go on being recited here
at least as long as there are people.
I think that not to hope for this
is scarcely less presumptuous
than publishing a poem at all.

 

Outside the ethnology museum

Man emerged in the Holocene
and is still emerging.
Let’s go for a drink,
it’s not possible
to reverse things anyway.

 

There is no silence

The worst crime against one person
by another is imaginable.

Not being able to say it is still better
than staying silent about it – darkly glowing.

There are many words, but no one can
tell us who were not involved, how it really was.

A moment is history in the moment.
The already said is the still speaking.

 

From: Jürg Halter, We Dread the End of the Music. © Wallstein and Co., Göttingen, 2014.

Aus: Jürg Halter, Wir fürchten das Ende der Musik © Wallstein Verlag GmbH, Göttingen, 2014