Friday, May 24, 2013

Sad Day

The German poet Sarah Kirsch died earlier this month, all of Germany just found out today. I liked her work, and when my daughter became interested in reading poetry, I gave her one of Kirsch’s books (Erlkönig). When I started writing poetry, I received a kind rejection from some journal or other with a note from the editor saying I should send them more work when I’d written a poem as “edgy” (their word) as Kirsch’s poem “Sad Day,” her best-known poem. 
Here’s a short poem of hers I like with my translation.


Die alten Frauen vor roten Häusern 
Roten Hortensien verkrüppelten Bäumen 
Brachten mir Tee. Würdevoll 
Trugen sie die Tabletts zurück, bezogen 
Horch- und Beobachtungsposten 
Hinter Schnickschnackschnörkel-Gardinen. 


The old women in front of red houses 
red hydrangeas crippled trees 
served me tea. With dignity 
they carried back the trays, resuming 
their posts for eavesdropping and observation 
behind frilled, flourishing curtains.

1 comment:

Caroline M Davies said...

That is sad news. I've only recently discovered her poetry. She will live on through her poems I guess.

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