Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Peter Ruhmkorf (1929-2008)

With Our Saved Necks

With our saved necks from the rabble
Of a hostile lynching mob,
We roam from Belsen to Babel
Carbolic rinsed, our heads throb.

Once we slopped life’s swill
Celebrating at times in vain
What’s under our hatbill
That sacred relic, the brain.

Tattooed with the world’s lye.
But still we manage to stand,
The whites glint in our eyes,
The warmth sweats in our hand.

We’ve suffered and we’ve clamored
With dew and fluff penned petitions—
In turn, words lost, words hammered,
In eternally spun repetitions.

—Translated from the German by Charlotte Melin

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