Friday, January 2, 2015

Erika Burkart

Moon in March 

Two sickles are still missing. 
Oblong: an egg—you dazzle
dead stone, wake up fear, infect
with fevered light, confuse the brain, 

extract my hysterical cry—
to be a helpless human being
like you who doesn’t manage to evade 

its phases.

Mock-bloom, blood-young leaves
in the winter boughs: the devouring frost and the vague hope, 

when, with burning eyes
the ghost in the nightshirt
stares up to the light-blanked no-man’s-sky
of our contaminated sphere. 

Summer Solstice 

Waiting at the window and staring outside 
two mountains in the distant vapor 
become a twin volcano.
The sun stands quite still

before it sinks. 

Seeing what doesn’t see us. 
Constellations are of another nature. 
Lucid moments: human glances. 
They burn through water
before they extinguish. 

"Moon in March" and "Summer Solstice" were previously published in Late Recognition of the Signs, translated from the German by Marc Vincenz (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014).

Erika Burkart was born in Aarau, Switzerland, in 1922. Throughout her career she published over 24 collections of poetry, 8 prose works, and was awarded numerous literary prizes, including the Conrad- Ferdinand-Meyer-Preis (1961) and the Gottfried- Keller-Preis (1992). She was the only woman ever to have been awarded Switzerland’s highest literary prize, der Grosser Schillerpreis (2005). She passed away on April 14, 2010.

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