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Thursday, November 6, 2008

THE GREEN INTEGER REVIEW Nos. 11-16 (Dagmar Nick)

Dagmar Nick
Dagmar Nick
Wild Ride

With Cybele’s tamed lions
I run away,
a torch at our backs, perhaps
a town of ashes,
forgotten names.
Deserts sink behind us,
ships sink in the gulf
and the human sacrifices
on the shores, where long ago
the Levite—I hear it still—
the indivisible God.

Centuries old
Finally I can afford to give
full rein, throwing myself
out into full gallop,
until in the distance the mountains
burst open before me,
and let me through to that place
where none questions me
about the passage, about the future,
about myself.


No veto against love.
Under the sun
the battlefields rest
in beds of flowers, bulwarks
and weapons buried
as though we had
never suffered a scratch.
What shall happen to us
even now when
autumn already
settles brown flecks
down on our hands? Time
is not enough for defeat.
We will accept a few gashes:
but they scarcely
will heal.

Hunting Season

Now in November,
when my house leaves me,
my tousled bedding
hangs on the branches;
when my books,
written upon cobwebs,
are blown away and my neighbors,
goldfinch and chiffchaff,
are migrating, now
in the glittering nights
when you all believe I am freezing,
I heat up my heart and go
hunting under the shield of Orion.
I borrow from him
a starry eye and his sword
and let the winter
leap over the blade
in one bound.

Loss of Sight

You place seeds of the poppy
on my eyes. The black
stamins take root
in my optic nerve. Why then,
my God, while I
love the brightness
and the blackness
only in the high-pitched flash
of the swift,
unattainable in the light, why
this darkness
without sleep?

What Remains

So what if not all
of you from top to toe—

a small part of your
brightness I will keep,
just enough that
the shadowy walls of morning
become transparent, a
door of light springs open
behind which I see you:
your head inclined
to the side, motionless,
an epiphany. My love.

—Translated from the German by Jim Barnes

German language copyright ©Dagmar Nick; English language translations ©2008 by Jim Barnes

Dagmar Nick is a Munich writer who is widely known in Europe. Her books of poetry include Summons and Sign and Numbered Days (Truman State University Press), both translated by Jim Barnes. The former won The Translation Prize from the Translation Center (Columbia University). The poems included here are from her book Im Stillstand der Stunden (Hours at Standstill).
Jim Barnes' latest book of poetry is Visiting Picasso (University of Illinois Press).

1 comment:

anna said...

Dagmar Nick is my favorite poet and I was honored to visit with her at home in Munich a couple of years ago. I have read all of her poems in German and have translated some of them for a book I am currently writing. How nice to discover your blog!