My Great-Grandfather Was A Lard Merchant
My great-grandfather was a lard merchant,
some still recall him
between Henndorf and Thalgan,
Seekirchen and Kostendorf,
and they hear his voice
together at his table,
which was also the table of gentlemen.
1881, in the spring,
he made up his mind for life: he planted
grape vines along a wall outside the house
and called the beggars together;
his wife, Maria, the one with the black ribbon,
gave him a further thousand years.
He invented the music of pigs
and the fire of bitterness,
he spoke of the wind
and of the wedding of the dead.
He would give me not one slice of speck
for my despair.
translated by James Reidel
Seagull Books 2017