Shelterless

Shattered leaves from sheltered trees
They dry the bloodstains on the ground
To conquer all but seven seas
And kill what makes us safe and sound

I know, I know there is no time
Thus all falls to the river’s flood
For in our first breath lies our crime
Cleansed and washed away like mud

Shattered dreams from sheltered sleep
A memory stinging day and night
To fall apart where widows weep
And vulnerable to the light

I know, I know there is no space
Thus rain will drown our stifled cries
For this will always be the place
Where there’ll be no sun to rise

Rote Flut (Red Flood)

After a long time, I have finally written a new poem in German. Please scroll down for an English translation.

Auf der Stirne liegt ein Degen,
balanciert auf dem Gesicht.
Es sieht aus nach rotem Regen,
Sturmfront gegen Gleichgewicht.

Küßt du mich, dann muß ich sterben;
hälst du mich, seh ich das Licht;
meine Sicht wird rot sich färben,
so die Welt in Scherben bricht.

Schiffe wollen Anker werfen,
transportiern ein großes Heer;
soll ein Schmied den Degen schärfen,
bringt gewiß das rote Meer.

Auf der Stirne lag ein Degen;
aus dem Gleichgewicht der Nacht,
hat er, mit der Strömung Segen,
endlich rote Flut gebracht.

[English translation:
A sword is lying on the forehead,
balanced on the face.
It looks like red rain,
storm front against equilibrium.

If you kiss me, I must die;
if you hold me, I shall see the light;
my sight is to be coloured red,
as the world shatters into pieces.

Ships want to cast their ankers,
transporting a huge host;
a blacksmith shall whet the sword,
for certainly, it shall bring the red sea.

A sword was lying on the forehead;
from the balance of the night,
it has, with the blessing of the current,
finally brought a red flood.]

Zerplatztes Porzellan (Shattered Porcelain)

The following is an old poem of mine from 2004. Please scroll down for an English translation and commentary.

Das Böse dieser Welt ist überall
und wie zerplatztes Porzellan in meinem Kopf,
dessen Scherben meine Seele schneiden
und den Ozean der Verdammnis
mit Blut und Tränen füllen.

Hier ist deine Seele
ein Schiff in dunkler Nacht,
mein Herz ein rotes Segel,
aufgespießt auf einen Mast,
dessen Spitze feurig glüht.

Unser Fleisch ist längst verwest
und brennt auf Stirn und Lippen.
Das Verderben folgt mir nach
auf Schritt und Tritt
und auf dem Fuße.

Das erdrückende Gewicht
der Welt stürzt auf mich ein
wie glühend heiße Nägel,
die sich in die Augen bohren,
weil die Welt in Blut ertrinkt.

English translation

The evil of this world is everywhere
und like shattered porcelain in my head
whose shards cut my soul
and fill the ocean of condemnation
with blood and tears.

Here your soul is
a ship in the darkest night,
my heart a crimson sail
impaled upon a mast
whose top glows fervidly.

Our flesh has long since decayed
and burns on forhead and lips.
Doom follows me
at every turn
and hard on my heels.

The stifling weight of the world
comes crushing down on me
like scorching nails
that sink into the eyes,
as the world drowns in blood.

Commentary

This poem, in contrast to the one I posted before, posed few difficulties with respect to its translation into English. First and foremost, the strength of the metaphors does not rely upon compounds. Instead, I chose a rather simple language and form (there are neither rhymes nor metres), while the metaphors – the pictures I paint with words – unfold over several lines. This allows them to remain in a steady flow on the one hand, but keeps them somewhat unpredictable as waves at sea on the other.
The lyrical self’s expression of despair is one big (and perhaps final) sigh of surrender. This is most prominent in lines four and five of verse three, which expresses the feeling that regardless of what the lyrical self does, however may describe or analyse the situation, it will always be and stay the same. No complication of words would serve this purpose, let alone improve it.
Interestingly, there is a lyrical you, a second person, vaguely addressed, but even this fact provides the lyrical self with no comfort. The reason for this may be that for the lyrical self, the lines between reality and the dark world to which it feels tied against its own will have long since blurred.

Demon-Haunted History (Part 1)

There has always been this borderline between amusingly stupid, ignorant, or delusional, and dangerously paranoid or delusional. All of us are stupid or ignorant or delusional to a degree, and while it may be comic in many cases, it can evolve into a cause soon to get out of hand. Outstanding historical examples are, without a doubt, crusades, the witch-hunt, and German fascism. Interestingly, the second is most often construed as a part of medieval culture and life, yet it actually culminated in the modern era and continued well past the Age of Enlightenment. And just as popes had repeatedly drawn on the power of mass delusion and the urge of the majority of people for a common cause and a scapegoat to blame for all social and economical issues alike, fascism found the most furtile grounds in Germany for the exact same reasons. The difference between Italy and Germany consisted mostly (albeit not only, of course) in weak and strong leadership, as well as economical power. Again, it would mean to oversimplify the situation to say that it only took one man. It goes without saying that Adolf Hitler was not alone, he was not the sole cause of the catastrophe to come. And he could not have succeeded without help or, even more importantly, without the conceptual seeds sown decades, even centuries before. A single cause to unite us all, one leader, one nation, one enemy, one goal: those are the words that have always led into the abyss. They promise both glory and safety – they bring but doom and despair.
In the Western countries, crusades, the witch-hunt (as a historical event), and fasciscm faded away into the obscurity of an awkwardly remembered past that appears to be less and less relevant to the current age. In fact, however, these events keep returning and repeating themselves in different shapes and shades. The fantasy of world domination, of a single ruler, of a single nation to rule them all, has been kept close to mother’s teats and nourished well. And when it grows larger, it will find futile ground again. Gullible masses cheering for it to come down on them, eagerly sucking up the poison raining from its open veins. And as it burns inside of them, eating them up till they are but shadows, it marches them on again to their shallow, nameless graves. And those who survive the madness will use these graves as a foundation for their next futile attempt of building a flourishing society upon the denial of the horrors they caused, supported, or tolerated.

Sacrifice

I looked you up and down in pieces,
Shivering anopheles,
Beneath the unbridged water nieces,
Yonder in the pale blood seas.

Why did you wake me from my slumber,
Hiding, resting, falling? – Steep.
I sacrificed myself, succumbed to
Darkness where the angels weep.

Lies and Death

Oh so fragile, always been,
the life that runs through living things,
cut and spilt, both dead and gone,
beyond all questions all along.

Reverence is among those lies
that liars tell a man who dies;
lies, however, keep alive
a liar’s breath and poisoned mind.

Earth and sun and moon are red,
drowned in sorrow, fear, and dread,
populated by the dead
that suck the life they never had.

Ich wünschte mir, ich wäre tot [I Wish I Were Dead]

Bei dem folgenden Text handelt es sich um ein Gedicht aus meiner Jugend, das ich kurz bevor oder nachdem ich an einer rezidivierenden Depression erkrankte beziehungsweise erkrankt war, verfaßt habe.

Ich wünschte mir, ich wäre tot,
Für itzt und alle Zeiten.
Ich wünsche mir ein schwarzes Boot,
Auf dem ich könnte gleiten.

Ganz ohne Segel übers Meer,
In seelenlosen Welten:
Für immer und für ewig wär
Das Urteil, das sie fällten.

Ich wünsche mir so sehnlichst sehr,
Für itzt und alle Zeiten,
Ich wünsche mir aus Blut ein Meer,
Auf dem ich könnte gleiten.

Ganz ohne Hoffnung übers Meer,
In mondscheinlosen Nächten:
Für immer und für ewig wär
Das Dunkel, das sie brächten.

[The following text is a poem from my youth I wrote shortly before or after contracting a recurrent depression.

I wish I were dead,
For now and for all times.
I wish I had a black boat
To float upon.

Without sails across the sea,
In soulless worlds:
For ever and for good would be
The judgement they passed.

I wish for it so desperately,
For now and all times,
I wish for a sea of blood
To float upon.

Without hope across the sea,
Through nights without moonshine:
For ever and for good would be
The darkness they would bring.

]