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Large House

Author: 
Sarah Kirsch

from Saison fur Lyrik, 1968

 

This winter I want a house

want to dwell, hardly speak

various rooms

with various windows, one

has glass doors to the north, there I see 

the treetops, ice in the boughs

hopping birds, the dogs of the Lapps 

bells in the sleigh tracks

snow thaws, I wash

my mouth, the letters frozen stiff

huntsmen rush through the landscape, their guns 

smoke, in their rucksacks they carry cones 

welcome food for the fire

                                       other windows

point to my town where the churches 

on the market-place with various towers 

rise to a pale black sky

merry-go-rounds rattle, Christmas barrel organs 

induce melancholia

                             are meant to, I open

doors see only space now spread out over the earth -

- drift good sphere for a few more millenia

it could be we'll learn a bit —

                                            I sit on my bed

withdraw from my boots think something up something 

about gigantic ships with wings, and birds

that travel in cabins overland, I tell the pilot 

our compass bearings he corrects my course 

past Manila away to Siberia

he has eyelashes like grass shooting up 

after the first rain, in his head

I could live

 

From The Poetry Review 3&4 (1976/77).

Translated by Michael Hamburger and reproduced with kind permission of the Michael Hamburger Trust.