Secret Letter


Erika Burkart

Evening Parlour

Evening parlour, it's dawning,
under the blanket, the Movement, golden,
stirs, turns, has wings,
sparkles and sparks, falls into darkness, behaves.
The life thread ravels.
You sense, I sense, we cocoon
ourselves in a wordlessness.
The Movement blinks, we speak, we bring
picture after picture into the winter parlour,
now you can talk, now you're free
from quarrels with Mother,
now I'm free of my Father-fear.
The deer, eyes in the window,
stare, know, like children,
not what they see.
Their bobbing bodies, the wittering warns us —
vanish like wind, are one with the forest
that grows into the room, that takes back
men and things.

Three-eyed, the house stands sentinel under a helmet of snow,
the Movement sways in the branches,
magic birds and mad stars,
and behind, our mirrored faces, —
on a window, speckled
by a distant light,
shadows fumble
in the night before.


The white night looks in
through all the windows
with the fringetree,
the swelling ash-sky.
It pains me, between silence and chatter
to be membrane,
eavesdropping wordlessly
in the frowning room.

Mountain Night

Sleepwalking eyes see the lamps
of the high piles
on the deserted white street,
icy and voiceless the mountain's breath
and all the clumps scattered.

In steep forests skirting,
those who saw the lovers in the moon,
imprint of a devalued coin,
outside the course of its singular glimmer,
just over Orion's ridge.

Since I know of space,
— matter, energy, number and time —,
its cold encircling bodies,
deadly suns, defleeced emptiness,
and of the blind spot, black holes,

since I know, that I know nothing,
I'm afraid of the stars,
their conspicuous
that never
refer to us.

— At the end of the village,
a window flickers.

Cloudy Day

Wandering and fragile,
fists and crowns,
over contaminated
zones disguised as working paradises,
elements flowing
through evolutions,
as apt as the senseless
mooncalf, Titans,

Everything and everyone kindred
the cloud-form, that vacillates,
stagnates and swells,
moulders and frays. — It calms
the legendary, the empty blue, rips,
back-buckling from the blackness,
wandering and fragile.

Visible only, when she's gone,
antimatter spirit.
It is the day, since she's
convincing us of simulacrum,
once more,
wandering and fragile,

World Histories

In time, history crumbles
into stories,
each ending so tragically, that the reader,
in the case that
he is no statistician,
turns the page,
pausing, at length,
before he reads secular
in to the book.

Elbows propped in the cover,
he stares into the future,
a sphinx on the graves,
over the hollow groves
infiltrating into the present
as always the dark

Old Person in Her Parents' House

The voices of the doors
are familiar at a distance,
their handles and locks,
knocking, creaking and grating,
the moaning as the temperature drops
like human lament—, like animal suffering,
the groan and whimper of the wood
has to submit
to the swollen frame.
Magical, the number of stairs
that one secures oneself from,
on paths, travels,
in foreign homes and cities,
to get ground under one's feet,
reminiscent of the light-box
on the 3rd floor on the 3rd step
mid-morning beginning in March,
and how in the middle of June,
the stairwell dimmed,
as the green-bloom of the trees extinguished
the > Green Hell < grew into us
with its shadows deep under the skin.
He who doesn't recognize the Summer-shivers,
doesn't know what freezing means.

God-only-knows how you orient yourself
to the house's topography,
where you placed your first steps,
saw an image in every window,
winter, autumn, summer landscapes—
in October, fiery trees against distant cobalt,
that borders on eternity.

One knows all these things and mistaken at 80
propped on the banister
in the labyrinth of one's own origins,
one, who came and went, who lived
for art and love—
who departed and didn't

translated from the German by Marc Vincenz