Translation Nicholas Grindell
in the place where once was something
the hollow fills to form a pond.
the water is immediately blackish.
stagnant. in it, imagined, firs.
blackish too. and closely packed.
what comes next happens once a dozen years:
at the centre, the void rises up
meniscus-like and hoists the spot
furthest from the banks into a hook.
thus, finally, the sunken shoreline
reappears, consisting of:
and something like caoutchouc.
what it’s all about
a whole landscape of ponds,
pale grey loam, mountains of building rubble,
then the insects, very large dragonflies,
hovering flat out, buzzing.
crossed skeeters use the matt varnish
of the collected water to leap from,
to land on. a ruffling. a trilling.
then their predators, the frogs
and, at the end of the chain, us too.
we walk. wade. drag our feet so.
who’d have thought it so hard to walk, so slow,
with tired, tired out knees.
the leaps. the landing. the foul sheen
on the water. the slightest touch,
such a sudden shove, minuscule rings.
atoms vibrate, vibrate in the neutral position.
frogs swallow. dragonflies. then us again.
today, around lunchtime, i saw my thinking,
it was a meadow, grazed bare, with hummocks. though
it could have been foothills of moss-covered mountains,
the kind of fuzzy green carpet fed on by reindeer.
no, just a busily bulging landscape beyond
the tree line, and it was definitely close-cropped.
the thoughts passed over it, a little light-headed,
like currents of air made visible, no, more
like a fleet of immaterial hovercrafts. they used
the hummocks as ramps.
These extracts from Monika Rinck’s
zum fernbleiben der umarmung
(kookbooks, 2007) appear courtesy of kookbooks
Translation © Nicholas Grindell
See Monika Rinck’s poems in Alistair Noon’s translation,
no man’s land #1