Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Jan Wagner

RAIN BARREL VARIATIONS

i lifted the lid
and stared into the giant
eye of the blackbird.

*

beneath the plum tree
behind the house, unmoved, cool
like a zen master.

*

a sort of oven
in negative, without smoke,
gulping up the clouds.

*

gurgled just a bit,
if you bashed hard against it,
but disclosed nothing.

*

as if the dead climbed
through her from the netherworld,
to listen to us.

*

silvery organ-
pipe, squat gutterspout: through which  
pumped all the weather.

*

one summer long
fully sated. then, with storm,
it bubbled over.

*

stay, spoke that darkness,
and your face dissolves itself 
like a sugar lump.

*

old as the garden,
redolent as forest-lake.
there: barrel of styx.

*

i lifted the lid,
twitched back. the blackbird singing
suddenly darkened.

*

awash in autumn,
it leaked out by the hundreds
the heaps of black slugs.    

*

what got imprinted
in me, framed in the barrel,
like a locket: rat.

*

last drop from the tree.      
in the quiet, quietly,
the quivering gong.

*

a brooding, brooding;
in winter, enlightenment
as a disc of ice.

REGENTONNENVARIATIONEN

REGENTONNENVARIATIONEN

ich hob den deckel
und blickte ins riesige
auge der amsel.

*

unterm pflaumenbaum
hinterm haus – gelassen, kühl
wie ein zenmeister.

*

eine art ofen
im negativ; qualmte nicht,
schluckte die wolken.

*

gluckste nur kurz auf,
trat man zornig dagegen,
aber gab nichts preis.

*

als stiege durch sie
die unterwelt hinauf, um
uns zu belauschen.

*

silberne orgel-
pfeife, fallrohr: dort hindurch
pumpte das wetter.

*

einen sommer lang
ganz versunken. dann, bei sturm,
schäumte sie über.

*

bleib, sprach das dunkel,
und dein gesicht löst sich auf
wie ein stück zucker.

*

alt wie der garten,
duftend wie ein waldsee. stand
da, ein barrel styx.

*

ich hob den deckel,
zuckte zurück. der amsel-
gesang dunkelte.

*

übervoll im herbst,
lief sie aus in hunderten
schwarzer nacktschnecken.

*

was ich im kopf be-
hielt, eingefaßt vom rund: das
medaillon “ratte”.

*

ein letzter tropfen
vom baum. in der stille, still,
der bebende gong.

*

ein grübeln, grübeln;
im winter die erleuchtung
als scheibe von eis.
Close

RAIN BARREL VARIATIONS

i lifted the lid
and stared into the giant
eye of the blackbird.

*

beneath the plum tree
behind the house, unmoved, cool
like a zen master.

*

a sort of oven
in negative, without smoke,
gulping up the clouds.

*

gurgled just a bit,
if you bashed hard against it,
but disclosed nothing.

*

as if the dead climbed
through her from the netherworld,
to listen to us.

*

silvery organ-
pipe, squat gutterspout: through which  
pumped all the weather.

*

one summer long
fully sated. then, with storm,
it bubbled over.

*

stay, spoke that darkness,
and your face dissolves itself 
like a sugar lump.

*

old as the garden,
redolent as forest-lake.
there: barrel of styx.

*

i lifted the lid,
twitched back. the blackbird singing
suddenly darkened.

*

awash in autumn,
it leaked out by the hundreds
the heaps of black slugs.    

*

what got imprinted
in me, framed in the barrel,
like a locket: rat.

*

last drop from the tree.      
in the quiet, quietly,
the quivering gong.

*

a brooding, brooding;
in winter, enlightenment
as a disc of ice.

RAIN BARREL VARIATIONS

i lifted the lid
and stared into the giant
eye of the blackbird.

*

beneath the plum tree
behind the house, unmoved, cool
like a zen master.

*

a sort of oven
in negative, without smoke,
gulping up the clouds.

*

gurgled just a bit,
if you bashed hard against it,
but disclosed nothing.

*

as if the dead climbed
through her from the netherworld,
to listen to us.

*

silvery organ-
pipe, squat gutterspout: through which  
pumped all the weather.

*

one summer long
fully sated. then, with storm,
it bubbled over.

*

stay, spoke that darkness,
and your face dissolves itself 
like a sugar lump.

*

old as the garden,
redolent as forest-lake.
there: barrel of styx.

*

i lifted the lid,
twitched back. the blackbird singing
suddenly darkened.

*

awash in autumn,
it leaked out by the hundreds
the heaps of black slugs.    

*

what got imprinted
in me, framed in the barrel,
like a locket: rat.

*

last drop from the tree.      
in the quiet, quietly,
the quivering gong.

*

a brooding, brooding;
in winter, enlightenment
as a disc of ice.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère