Author: Volker Sielaff
Translator: Steph Morris


A village lad, I grew up with flies, with their
Humming. Some time or other they just fell
Down past the tiny glass panes, and no-one ever wanted

To brush them away; they lay there for days,
Their legs lifeless, left dangling from a bloodless body
Which could no longer hold them,

Caught in the rainwater ridge on the toilet window ledge,
Where they glistened a good while longer, sated leaden blue or
Sulphurous yellow, while the others’ wing-music

Carried on cheerfully … as they did today, between the cherry tree
And the sky, at around half the tree’s height,
While opinions were passed round, and I switched off,

From this sluggish afternoon, coffee and cakes,
My eyes turning to the darting up and diving down,
As if they were all tied to an invisible thread,

Here under this blueness which has nothing more to say
A swarm of flies weaving its clear web
Through the summer air.


Original © Volker Sielaff
Translation © Steph Morris