Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Jan Wagner

NAIL

scarcely in the wall, he was the center,
expanding its radius 
across the gardens, fields, beet briar 
and further, to the henhouses, the radish- 

patch, becoming more worldy, all-encompassing:
we hung up the hats. we hung up cardigans
and picture frames, hung coats, umbrellas,
until we almost forgot him, whose hard gaze

will be still there, when we have long since moved away
and house and street and town 
have vanished – so undeterredly

far, so lustrous, so above the east and west
that one could navigate through darkness
by him, offering old sailors consolation.

NAGEL

NAGEL

kaum in der wand, war er die mitte,
schnellte sein radius
über die gärten, felder, rübenmiete
hinaus, die hühnerställe, das radies-

chenbeet, wurde umfassender, mondial:
wir hängten die hüte auf. wir hängten strick-
jacken und rahmen, hängten regenmäntel
und schirme auf, bis wir ihn fast vergaßen, dessen harter blick

noch da sein wird, wenn wir längst ausgezogen
und stadt und haus und straße
verschwunden sind – so unbeirrt weit oben,

so glänzend über west und ost,
daß sich im dunkeln navigieren ließe
nach ihm, und alten seefahrern ein trost.
Close

NAIL

scarcely in the wall, he was the center,
expanding its radius 
across the gardens, fields, beet briar 
and further, to the henhouses, the radish- 

patch, becoming more worldy, all-encompassing:
we hung up the hats. we hung up cardigans
and picture frames, hung coats, umbrellas,
until we almost forgot him, whose hard gaze

will be still there, when we have long since moved away
and house and street and town 
have vanished – so undeterredly

far, so lustrous, so above the east and west
that one could navigate through darkness
by him, offering old sailors consolation.

NAIL

scarcely in the wall, he was the center,
expanding its radius 
across the gardens, fields, beet briar 
and further, to the henhouses, the radish- 

patch, becoming more worldy, all-encompassing:
we hung up the hats. we hung up cardigans
and picture frames, hung coats, umbrellas,
until we almost forgot him, whose hard gaze

will be still there, when we have long since moved away
and house and street and town 
have vanished – so undeterredly

far, so lustrous, so above the east and west
that one could navigate through darkness
by him, offering old sailors consolation.
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