Elke Erb Poems

FROM HOLLAND TO SPAIN

You see yourself at a distance when you read about Holland. You could be anybody. Whoever reads about Holland is there in spirit. Holland's eminence pushes it into the far distance. Its eminence is composite, one thing connected to another. Naval power, commercial power, sheep breeding, lens grinding. Going from Holland to Spain, however, is almost no sweat at all. Just that trifle, France. Even the Pyrenees are nothing; on the contrary: no sooner named than you've already crossed them. In Spain you buy meat. At the inns you ask for a free bed, a pot, and fire. They are too few, they don't cook for travelers. Everybody brings his own when traveling in Spain. The era is the Baroque. The moon is uninhabited, we are not unreasonable.... more »

UNBEGREIFLICH (I)

Zwischen Gasherd und Tisch der Gedanke

ist ein einsamer Esel am Feldrand
eine ferne - Bulgarien! - Erinnerung
Scheinbar einsamer Esel -

Zwischen Gasherd und Tisch der Gedanke
ist, daß man stirbt -

dort der Esel gehört ja wem,
er steht vor einem Wägelchen, hinter beiden
ein riesiges Maisfeld, Ebene -

der Gedanke
ist, daß man stirbt -
hin in ein Strudelloch - fort -,

dort ist sonst nichts auf der Welt.
Solange ich es sehe. Während mein Zug
vorbeifährt zum Schwarzen Meer -

Unbegreiflich

ist. daß man stirbt -
hin in ein Strudelloch - fort -,
versiegt, erschöpft.

zwischen Gasherd und Tisch der Gedanke

ist ein einsamer Esel am Feldrand


(II) ESEL

Es steht der Esel mit erloschenen Augen.
Ein grauer Stein, tritt aus dem Leben, bleibt.

Der Bart des Abraham, ein Zeichen, überm Feld.
Das Zeichenwunder klein: der Bart der Ziege.

Ziege, Ziege, Züge, ein verlassener Esel.
Der Horizont ist seines Feldrands Parallele.


(III) ZIEGE

und Ziegenbart, sie stellt die Vorderfüße
auf den Rand des Kübels. Sie schaut erhöht
über das Gatter. Tier.... more »

INCOMPREHENSIBLE (I)

Between gas stove and table the thought

a lonely donkey at the edge of a field
a distant - Bulgaria! - memory
Apparently lonely donkey -

Between gas stove and table the thought
that we die -

the donkey does belong to someone,
it's hitched to a little cart, behind them
a huge corn field, the plain -

the thought
that we die -
down a maelstrom - gone -

there's nothing else in the world.
As far as I can see. As my train
passes en route to the Black Sea -

Incomprehensible

that we die -
down a maelstrom - gone -
drained, drawn.

between gas stove and table the thought

a lonely donkey at the edge of a field


(II) DONKEY

The donkey stands, with extinguished eyes.
A gray stone, leaves this life, remains.

The beard of Abraham, a sign, above the field.
The wondrous sign in miniature: the beard of the goat.

Goat, goat, train gone by, abandoned donkey.
Horizon parallel to edge of field.

(III) GOAT

and goat beard, puts her front hooves
on the rim of the bucket. Thus raised up
looks over the fence. That animal.... more »

Elke Erb Quotes

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