Two poems by Christine Lavant

Translated by Johannes Beilharz


WHO WILL HELP me starve this night
and all the nights to come?
The round moon traces a huge curve
far away from me, I am too thin for it already.

I'd very much like to drop my eyes now
like pebblestones out of my window,
so that a drunk, down in the street,
would crush them deep into the first snow.

But even blind I'd still
know about all things and always
see you leave, since sparks rise in me
like stars of hunger from crying.

Title of original: Wer wird mir hungern helfen diese Nacht, from Spindel im Mond. Copyright © 1959 by Christine Lavant

SINCE TODAY, but forever
I know: This earth is really warm -
the burning I return to the nettle
and to the hedgehog its spines.

Since today all things are my patron saints
and the whole world is a wicker cradle
wherein a gust of wind rocks us together
and ties our breaths.

Title of original: Seit heute, aber für immer, from Der Pfauenschrei. Copyright © 1962 by Christine Lavant

These translations were originally published in Aspen Journal of the Arts, Summer 1982, volume one/2.

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