Sunday, January 02, 2011

Just Because It Snowed

As I watched the snow through the window, I wanted to translate this poem by Gunter Kunert. From 1966, when he still lived over there.

Annunciation of the Weather


Thanks to the self-sacrificing work of the clouds
It's raining. Sure: Sometimes they simply can
Not hold the water. Nonetheless
A complete success. And no question
About the reasons.


Thanks to the alienation and the great cold
Which seizes the water drops
It's snowing: thanks thanks thanks


The government offices clothe themselves
With white vests. Cities slip
Into the colorless status of innocence. The squares
Marked with the concentric tracks of cars form
Expectant targets.
Put on caps of another power
Than that they, calling it to mind, otherwise serve.
The window sills the roofs the shoulders
Yet once more wear the flag
Of capitulation.


Neither the snow that layers itself on it in London
Nor the rain that flows indifferently
Over the great calm of his bronze skull
Knows: Marx is dead.


And yet has
Never lived like just now. Like now. Like right now.
Like in the weather of the dark shafts
From which the coal, still not under its own power,
Rises from light.

Like there where
You break wrists to give us
A well-tempered climate;

Where your hide goes on the market who want
Than that hides go on the market;

And where the factories don't want to turn into churches
Even if they urge them in earnest and inscription
To do it;

Since Marx did not rise up on the third day, not
Even on any day at all. Instead is there
And over there
In the frightful fruitful chaos of earthly


There there lives
What sometimes calls itself by his name. Sometimes
Something completely different. Sometimes nameless
Looks around collapses and strange
Raises itself up again.
Which means more
Than snowed in bones than coffined rain
Than sunshine pressed between book covers
The solemn annunciation of the weather.


Thanks to certain bases for rain and snow
There is also discord and hope. One
Above all others and everything: To arrive.


Not like the runner at the finish. Not
Like the dead at the grave.


But perhaps
Like the so vulnerable lump of flesh
Arrives from the body of a woman
In the dawning Somewhere: At the beginning
Over and over again. Over and over at the start. Over
And over at new beginning.
Like the rain drop. Like the snow flake.

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