Monday, February 7, 2022


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.

What else?

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

in one.


To write a poem

without ballast

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


Rainer Brambach

Collected Poems

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.