from Also in April
The year still young. I'm seized by a boisterous mood,
rainwater vat rhymes with sunshine in March
warming my back
and drying the moss-covered stone bench —
This springtime too will bring me by the by
plenty of quiet work round the garden.
Patience, Rainer, patience.
Not wanting to be part of it sometimes
making off into the underwood
past many a silly cow —
Then, lying in the elder shade, timeless,
not giving a damn
if one and one are three.
Surely the summer has other names
not just summer.
For instance Olea, a name
combining corn yellow, rye red,
meadow and forest green
To write a poem
for instance late autumn
empty snail shell cobwebs
something falling silently
amid the whispers of the trees.
Free time working time dinner time
and the time to sleep —
The fast trains the slow trains
the coming and the going —
Early November and yet it seems
I heard the cuckoo just a little while ago.
A postcard from the Caribbean
taken out of the letter box —
oh well, Caribbean,
while I — all blessings come from heaven above —
have a white Black Forest in front of me.
Ten degrees below zero
and again a hearty
sneeze into the handkerchief
wiping my watering eyes
and skipping and hopping
until the ice puddle cracks
and a delicate spinet rings
persistently in my ears —
Never put to paper and yet unforgotten
the soft light of the gas lamps in the evening
the snowball fights won and lost
the downhill races on the wooden sledge
the roast hot chestnuts
in the newspaper cone
and the Hoorays in thoughtless songs.
Beauty of our childhood years, they won't come back.
translated by Esther Kinsky
Seagull Books, 2021
Rainer Brambach (1917-1983) grew up in Basel and left
school at the age of 14 to become a manual laborer.
He spent much of the Second World War in prison and
labor camps, an experience which greatly influenced his writing.
Recognition and awards notwithstanding, he remained an
outsider in the literary world and lived for many years in poverty.