hunting song
open your eyes
my friends
denuded trees
geese
the open sea

By Ulrike Almut Sandig

Translation Karen Leeder

here are the creatures, here the stalls, here
you have straw. where there’s no one
reciting, and no one recording, where
language is a horse that foams at the
mouth, where the reins have been sold off,
where your own crazy mare, just like a new
born, stands on the pavement, scraping its
hooves and always passes through just as
our eyelids flicker in concert and someone
else is rolling his eyes, where it passes
through, alongside the road-markings, and
gets smaller towards the edge of the
picture, and then disappears, to the place
with the lights on where the others all live.
and there you will find those bright ringing
horses. there are their stalls and inside the
straw. my sleep, my ears, my hunting
song
– be still! there we were perfect.
that’s where the stalls were and inside the
straw.

 

 

give me the cut fields under the film of air.

give me the pine trees. they tug at the motionless light.

give me the fish pond in the corner, the duckweed on top.

give me the verdigris that darkens so quickly on this house
of mine that stands alone. the clouds roll on past. open
your eyes
. already the morning is spreading in every direction.

 

 

once I lost a friend to whom I had done wrong.
once I lost another whom I’d simply forgotten:

for no reason. once I lost that plastic ring,
green as grass, that belonged to my friend and
not long after, the friend herself. just why I
lost her has slipped my mind too, and also for
no reason. not to worry! it stands to reason:
my friends are in the kampfzone of the forest,
where even the trees disappear. they are
stooped beneath the wind. one of them wears
a plastic ring on her finger, green as grass. I
saw it somewhere else once before.

 

 

when I left the afternoon was already over. straggling
children tidied themselves from the playground into the
houses. the first rockets hissed invisibly, still almost inaudible
the throb of the bass. the roadside for quite some distance
was overcast with the haze of denuded trees, they smelled of

cuckoo flowers in the woods, and dozing above them the real
clouds in the wind hole, polar light, biting ice. once a chunk
of milk glass fell to the ground in front of me. before I could
tread on it, it melted away. that’s when I finally left. after that
I forgot everything here.                    I was back by new year.

 

 

no. they never fly south
in the south one is always alone.
I heard them flying by night, at the start
still the flurry of wings, lonely cries
as they soared up high and higher to reach
the moon and land on the darkest side
turned away from the earth, and stand
for a long, long time. wing to wing
pressed close together: geese, geese
on the airless, the flying moon.

 

 

record it, my sailor, record what
is still standing and then read
it aloud. maybe someone can
find a use for it all: for your bed
and my T-shirt, for the flowers
in the vase, the coffee in the pot
and the strange shaggy-maned
mutt that has slipped, dripping wet
into the sheets with us. for here it is dry
dry and good. and we three will
lie here as long as permitted.
the sky-blue, the open sea that
will draw us in, the three of us
(the creature a little ahead of us
perhaps), record it all my sailor:

what the … it can come, the open sea,

it can come for us even tomorrow.

 

 

 

From Dickicht.  Schöffling & Co., 2011).