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