Runoff water

Poem By Dorothea Grünzweig

Vesi Wasser water its own story
as lake- moor- riverstory
in this land has been a rich one
oozing flowing streaming

The people with the rich waterstory
fall to their knees
in saunas kitchens in stalls with the livestock
in baths before springs meadowsprings wood-
Vesi Wasser water do not forsake us

Since summer the sky has been of stone
of blue stone orange grey
of cloudy moraines
The springs are open throats
rising from the earth panting
groaning their gullets on fire

The people with the rich waterstory
head for the lakes with
basins washtubs ladles hoses pumps
fall to their knees

Vesi Wasser water usually you fertilize the earth
now you let the roots go thirsty
meadowroots woodroots grass and trees are dying
for our own sake at least
we have come to get you

The lakes themselves are imploding
Vesi Wasser water do not forsake us
you amniotic fluid for fish that germinate inside us
if we dry up it will be amniotic murder
the lakeshores are beginning to bulge
wreaths of suffering laid around them
when all at once winter sets in full force
covers them seals them up

Vesi Wasser water have mercy vedenarmo
we know of the floods raging in the south
if only we had a few drops of that

The people with the rich waterstory have
no rituals they do not kneel down thankful
for water already received
they make no offerings
pat the sky's stony face
Vesi Wasser water do not forsake us
drum it pound it with their fists

A little rain indeed is set free
no more than tears wept bitterly
the rain penetrates the ground
the frost takes hold
lets water turn to rigid ice

and ice it will be until the thaw in April

Translated from the German by Derk Wynand

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