from Kissing Nests

Werner Lutz

It doesn't help but still
I have to dwell on futile things
how it might be how it would be

if the roots
of an ancient oak would grow
through the chambers of my heart
with their narcotic juices
their poison and their
wisdom of the evergreen

I always sleep badly in March
I go to lie under silk paper
and the perfume of distant foreign yearning
lets me breathe quicker

the hours turn
their seductive rounds
and what I think on these nights
is similar to the buds in March

too early too early
too reckless to be viable

Once in summer
when green tendernesses
slept in half shadows

once in autumn
when the pear trees deepened themselves
into their own embers

once in winter
when snow gusts
blanketed the standstill

once in spring
when someone waved goodbye
on a street corner

something black was blooming
on the black briar tree

Like a curse
this evening arrives
over the Rhine

the towers sink
in the muddy light

the sandstone towers
winding staircase towers
the towers
of the forgiving prayers

the cottonwood on the shore
woven with ghosts
made of pleading
begging sounds

the lips taste
like a foreign voice

translated from the German by Marc Vincenz