the autumn sun is like the national gallery
twelve golden chimes
no more political poems
the violence of plants
christmas eve 2pm

By Arne Rautenberg

Translation Ken Cockburn

the autumn sun is like the national gallery

the autumn sun in the harz mountains
is like the national gallery in berlin
it again picks out
above the goldenbrown rug of the moors
below the clouds that rot into blue
the gifts it would like to receive
from the peaty foot of this most german of mountains
only the best pictures of course
pictures of slowly dying firs
whose lifelines running beneath their bark
have been gnawed away
by bark beetles
pictures of the aristocratic deadwood line
who for centuries
have dug their mossy roots
dripping and glinting
into acid soils
where the silver mines are silent
ready at any time to fall
when the next storm (sandy?
mandy? brandy?) comes
but for the moment the autumn sun just beats down
on the national gallery:
hundreds of bare trunks
unyielding to gravity
in an ash-blond glow

twelve golden chimes

twelve golden chimes
cross a stream in spate
lie down in a clearing
and reload their rifles

in the telescopic sights of twelve
golden chimes tree-trunks
branches leaves and finally
a windy winding path of cloud

twelve golden chimes lie
in wait when you come past
your ears have long been in
their sights without you

suspecting anything if
each pulls the trigger evenly
one after another you’ll hear
twelve golden chimes

no more political poems

on this last day of april the sun nonetheless
is shown to be to be a loathsome political poem

beyond the big viewing window is the ferry smoke
issues from its chimney and doesn’t drift in the wind

but disappears with whatever thoughts arise the prostitutes
not far from here are with their clients i hate the moment

of the bloody political poem its caustic words of steel
don’t say anything against it just don’t show it your face

on which side is indoctrination when the rescue helicopter
with its quick and fervent prayer hacks through the epochs

(planet of warning pains) what do the oh so insistent carotid
arteries count for then on a last day of april like this

the violence of plants

the silent laughter of plants
at the persistence
of our heartbeats
to them each spring’s
a beat of life

seconds trickle away from us
plants accrue thousands
of hours

and while we scurry
come to our wrong decisions
they silently follow their urges
soon deck with foliage
the ruins

their luxuriant growth
their sparkling green flood
their cold blood

their proliferation over our (relatively speaking) lot
each spring
the violence of plants
makes me shiver

christmas eve 2pm

the presents are wrapped
time stands still people don’t really
know where they’re going any more
I don’t know have you noticed?

the tree is decorated
the table is set the children are quiet
in their rooms with one eye on the clock
anticipation grows

the streets are empty perhaps a dog
needs out again or a kid for fresh air?
doors have never been more closed and
candles never burned more peacefully than now

I lie half-dressed beside you
in bed must have dropped off
I’ll open my eyes in a minute I
don’t know have you noticed?

From  seltene erden © Horlemann, 2014