Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Peycho Kanev writes

In a Strange Place

Somewhere in Italy the sun
is setting, all around me
is green and the green trees
and grass and flowers inhale
and exhale happiness.
White houses in the distance,
shimmering like beads of
fresh sweat.
I sit in the shade of a venerable tree
to read the New Selected Poems by
Hans Magnus Enzensberger
with life itself behind my back,
licking his thumb and waiting
for his turn.

 German writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger, one of the most intelligent and provocative essayists in Europe was born Nov. 11, 1929…
“A pathological business, writing, don’t you think? Just look what a writer actually does: all that unnatural tense...
Hans Magnus Enzensberger -- Jim Rakete

1 comment:

  1. Hans Magnus Enzensberger ("Andreas Thalmayr") was part of the generation of writers shaped by growing up in Nazi Germany. In Nürnberg (Nuremberg) he lived next door to Julius Streicher, the founder and publisher of the antisemitic "Der Stürmer" who was executed for war crimes after World War II. He was most renowned fo his poetry and essays, but has written plays, screenplays, radio drama, children's books, reportage, and translation, as well as the libretto for Aulis Sallinen's opera, "Palatsi" (The Palace).] His work has been translated into more than 40 languages.
    The Vanished
    For Nelly Sachs

    It wasn't the earth that swallowed them. Was it the air?
    Numerous as the sand, they did not become
    sand, but came to naught instead. They've been forgotten
    in droves. Often, and hand in hand,

    like minutes. More than us,
    but without memorials. Not registered,
    not cipherable from dust, but vanished—
    their names, spoons, and footsoles.

    They don't make us sorry. Nobody
    can remember them: Were they born,
    did they flee, have they died? They were
    not missed. The world is airtight
    yet held together
    by what it does not house,
    by the vanished. They are everywhere.

    Without the absent ones, there would be nothing.
    Without the fugitives, nothing is firm.
    Without the forgotten, nothing for certain.

    The vanished are just.
    That's how we'll fade, too.

    Rita Dove tr. of "Die Verschwundenen"

    [Nelly Sachs was a Nobel winning poet and playwright; her friend Selma Lagerlöf, who had been the first woman Nobelist in Literature, intervened with the Swedish royal family to intervened with the Swedish royal family on her behalf, leading to her escape on the last flight from Nazi Germany to Sweden, a week before she was scheduled to report to a concentration camp.]


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