what about the animals?
orpheus charms beasts of lesser quality

Author: Monika Rinck
Translator: Nicholas Grindell

what about the animals?

now that it’s becoming clear, consider my animal cooked.
futro. the fur. it foams and it boils, the heat
of the prongs, the limp little animal. the neighbours the neighbours
what were their names? it’s coming unstuck, coming loose.
timbers working themselves free. something bloody
well plonked down, fundamentally bungled. it’s a fiasco.
the blond roof of straw. how it thrashes about. does battle
in the wind with the wind, a beating. a rumbling.
anything to salvage or extinguish, perhaps? anything burning?
do the animals need evacuating? plucking from the flames
at the very last moment? no, i hear no screaming.
the animals are fine. which means you can rest at last.

orpheus charms beasts of lesser quality

here he sits, at barren altitude, the pines have already moved in.
as have the oaks, beeches, boxes and the like, the lyre lures.
and just supposing the reason he lost what had almost been
granted was the same as with oedipus: downright arrogance.
look, don’t look, going, not going, she’s gone. here below: animals.
what doesn’t happen by itself is sublimation. there’s no two
ways about it. after the plant parade, the animals lay themselves
at his feet, harmonious and motionless the soft-shelled turtle,
the side panorama of a heath sheep, the amputated legs of a lynx,
the grumpy disposition of the badger, snakes come and squint,
bear sows maltreated by saints under the yoke of christendom,
hairy wilderness harnessed in place of oxen, a dismal sanatorium
of insolvency. hunted shadows, shadows hunting animals. animals on ice
and animals on drugs. the healthy animals are doing something else.
a steeplechase. or something with steppe. the healthy animals are watching
their step. dainty hooves dancing the latest steps. not so the crane.
the horses hit by traffic. the inside-out dogs, their fur long since grown
into the cerebellum, moronic hares and the narcotic beast par excellence:
the fleeting unicorn. the whole clanking crew. and now: sing one more.
one of your lovely songs, orpheus. and orpheus sang. and sang. and then.
then came the maenads and took things in hand as only they can.

© Monika Rinck the originals:
was ist mit den tieren and
orpheus charmiert bestien minderer qualität
zum fernbleiben der umarmung © 2007 kookbooks, Berlin
Translations © Nicholas Grindell